I know Jaxon wants to wash his hands of Julius Peppers, as do many of us, however I believe closure is also important and to get that I think we need to know what could have been.
Sitting in on Mark Packer's 'Primetime with the Paclman' show on WFNZ Rock Hill Herald and Charlotte Observer beat writer Darin Gantt revealed a lot of interesting information regarding the team's mindset this off season, potential trades and moves. Most interestingly however was the revelation of just how much money Carl Carey and Julius Peppers left on the table by deciding not to sign an extension, therefore clearing his path to free agency.
More after the jumpGantt had it on good authority that the Panthers' final offer to Peppers was $13-14 million per season. He didn't mention a term, but looking at players of a similar age and position it's most likely this deal would have been for 5 years. So, supposing that the offer was for 5 years and right at $13.5 million per, this is how it would have stacked up among DEs.
Jared Allen: 6 years, $73.26 million ($12.21 million per)
Will Smith: 6 years, $61.4 million ($10.2 million per)
Dwight Freeney: 6 years, $72 million ($12 million per)
Julius Peppers: 5 years, $67.5 million ($13.5 million per)
This would have made Peppers the highest paid DE in the NFL, but a far cry from the deal he reportedly wanted as being the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. Now media outlets are saying he could only fetch up to $10 million per season from a new team.
Gantt was asked if New England could be a likely landing spot for Peppers. He responded saying that the only thing stopping it would be money. He said that from this beginning it has only been about money with Julius. He doesn't give hometown discounts, he doesn't give championship potential discounts; that being said, he did say the Boston area would be appealing as he would sit behind at least three Patriots (presumably Brady, Moss and Welker) the entire Red Sox team and three Celtics on the fame level in Boston allowing him to disappear somewhat.
He went one to essentially say that there was no way the Panthers could have gotten anything in return for Peppers without taking a considerable risk. It would have required franchise tagging Peppers and being on the hook for $21.3 million then hoping to find a trade partner. It was a poison pill most teams couldn't swallow and made it near impossible to move him. I completely agree with Gantt, it gave Peppers the power to hold a gun to the Panthers' heads. He could have happily signed the tender and not accepted any trades forcing the team to shell out $21.3 million for essentially nothing.
Gantt also talked about Jerry Richardson's mindset during this period and said that Richardson strikes him as the kind of guy who's willing to sacrifice the short term success of the Panthers for the long time goals of the NFL. Take that as you may, but it indicates to me that we wont see a lot of action in free agency.
Finally he was asked about possibly trading DeAngelo Williams to San Diego for the 28th pick in the draft (rumored on several sites). Gantt said that he believes Jonathan Stewart is the better running back, but he thought it would take a lot more than just the 28th pick for Marty Hurney to break up Double Trouble; but he wouldn't rule it out entirely.