The Green Bay Packers have agreed to terms with eight-time Pro-Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers. Peppers, 34, had been released by the Chicago Bears due to salary altercations merely four days prior to signing with Green Bay. The deal between the Packers and Peppers is reportedly a three-year contract worth $30 million. The contract guarantees $7.5 million and is set out to pay $8.5 million to Peppers for his first year as a Packer. As a new member of the Packers, Peppers will remain in the NFC North and will have the opportunity to face off against his former Chicago Bears team.
Julius Peppers is a 12-year veteran in the NFL, spending the majority of his career in Carolina while playing his past four seasons in Chicago. Signing a three-year contract with the Packers, Peppers will likely end him career in Green Bay. Thus far in his career, Peppers has recorded 556 tackles, 118.5 sacks, as well as 39 forced fumbles. Peppers, standing at six foot seven inches tall and weighing approximately 287 pounds brings an absolute force to be wrecking with to the Green Bay defensive line. Worth noting is that in his previous years in the NFL Peppers has played primarily in a 4-3 defensive scheme. Nonetheless, the Packers plan on utilizing Peppers in a 3-4 defensive scheme in which he will have opportunity to play both defensive end and outside linebacker. Given Peppers’ unique combination of size speed, the Packers have confidence in Peppers’ ability to adjust to a 3-4 style of defense. In turn, the Packers are hoping for Peppers to relieve some of the pass-rush pressure from Pro-Bowl linebacker Clay Mathews.
The Packers have been active this offseason, as they have solidified their defensive front by resigning tackle B.J. Raji to a one-year deal and defensive end Mike Neal to a two-year contract. With the franchises newest addition to its defense, Julius Peppers, the Packers are set out to start the 2014 season with a platoon of veteran Pro-Bowl lineman. In deed, the Packers invested a hefty sum of cash into veteran defensive end Julius Peppers. When healthy, Peppers can reap havoc upon opposing offenses by means of pass-rush and by breaking off of blockers and making key tackles. Nevertheless, at age 34 and now entering year number 13 of his NFL career, Peppers will likely be more prone to injury than in his past seasons. In deed, the Packers franchise has invested confidence in Peppers ability to continue his elite level of performance on the field as well as his ability to stay healthy over the course of a season.
The Green Bay Packers have signed one of the biggest names available among free agents in the 2014 offseason. All else considered, the signing of Julius Peppers undoubtedly enhances and stabilizes the Packers defensive line just as long as he remains in good health. Peppers has proven himself throughout his 12-year stint in the NFL, that he is among the elite and most complete players to man the defensive end position playing the game today. Though in all likelihood reaching his final years in the NFL, Peppers should remain a legitimate defensive threat to opposing offenses as he enters the 2014 season as a Packer.
Commentary by Robert Lucas