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Patriots are close to signing Peppers

Discussion in 'All Other Team Discussions' started by The Coordinator, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. The Coordinator

    The Coordinator Cheesehead

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    Patriots appear primed to make a deal with Panthers for Peppers
    By Vic Carucci | NFL.com
    Senior Columnist

    The trade that sent Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs appears to be only the first phase of some major wheeling and dealing by the New England Patriots this offseason.

    The second phase, NFL sources say, is likely to involve a trade that would send Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers to the Patriots in exchange for the second-round pick (34th overall) they received from the Chiefs on Feb. 28.

    Patriots' offseason moves
    Acquired:
    TE Chris Baker
    LB Tully Banta-Cain
    CB Leigh Bodden
    WR Joey Galloway
    LS Nathan Hodel
    C Al Johnson
    WR Greg Lewis
    CB Shawn Springs
    RB Fred Taylor

    Retained:
    LB Eric Alexander
    OT Wesley Britt
    P Chris Hanson
    G Russ Hochstein
    S James Sanders
    S Ray Ventrone
    S Tank Williams
    DL Mike Wright

    Departed:
    QB Matt Cassel
    FB Heath Evans
    WR Jabar Gaffney
    LB Larry Izzo
    WR C.J. Jones
    RB LaMont Jordan
    LS Lonie Paxton
    LB Darrell Robertson
    LB Mike Vrabel

    According to league sources, the Patriots and Panthers are hoping to complete the deal at some point between the March 22-25 NFL owners meetings and the start of the draft on April 25.

    Peppers, on whom the Panthers have placed a franchise tag that assures him of a one-year contract worth $16.68 million, would be converted to outside linebacker in New England's 3-4 defense.

    The Patriots already were looking ahead to the possibility of acquiring Peppers when they shipped Cassel and Vrabel to Kansas City, NFL sources say, because they wanted to clear the salary-cap space necessary to sign Peppers to a new contract that would put him among the higher-paid defensive players in the league. After signing Cassel to a one-year, franchise-tag tender contract worth $14.65 million, New England had nearly $30 million in cap money devoted to two quarterbacks (including $14.62 million for Tom Brady).

    Once the Patriots were convinced that Brady would be fully recovered from the season-ending knee injury he suffered last year, they were comfortable with trading his replacement to the Chiefs and putting the wheels in motion to bolster a defense that has gotten particularly old at linebacker. Vrabel and fellow linebacker Tedy Bruschi are well into the twilight of their respective careers.

    NFL sources say the Panthers would welcome the chance to unload Peppers for a second-round draft pick, even though it would be well below his market value, because it would be less costly than signing a first-rounder. The Panthers already have made some belt-tightening financial moves within their front office.

    This, in part, could help answer the lingering question of why the Patriots were willing to take only a second-round pick for Cassel and Vrabel rather than possibly go for a higher choice as part of a three-way deal involving the Denver Broncos, who were ready to give up Jay Cutler for Cassel. Without an additional second-round pick, the Patriots might not be able to pursue Peppers.

    League sources also point out that the Panthers don't have a first-round choice after trading it to the Philadelphia Eagles and aren't scheduled to draft until 59th overall (near the bottom of the second round). The 34th spot would give Carolina the second pick of the second round and a chance to land a player with a first-round rating who was pushed down to that spot for whatever reason.

    Also, according to NFL sources, there is a third phase to the Patriots' offseason strategy. They would like to further beef up their linebacking corps by adding an inside linebacker in the draft. They are known to believe that USC's Rey Maualuga would be a great fit for their scheme, especially when paired with Jerod Mayo, their 2008 first-round pick who was the NFL's top defensive rookie. However, some early projections suggest it might be a long shot for Maualuga to be available for the Patriots with the 23rd overall pick.



    Patriots coach Bill Belichick is known for making excellent decisions when it comes to acquiring players, but at least one NFL player-personnel evaluator questions whether Peppers would be a good fit in New England.

    "This is a guy who totally went on strike two years ago because he wasn't happy with his contract," said the player personnel source, who requested anonymity. "He's also very long (in the torso), which is not ideal for a 3-4 outside linebacker. And he can't drop into coverage. He's very stiff.

    "But one of the things (the Patriots) are looking at is the fact that, in passing situations, they can have Peppers up front with (Richard) Seymour and (Jarvis) Green. That makes it easier for them to take (nose tackle Vince) Wilfork out of the game in (passing situations) and just play him on running downs."


    It seems the rich get richer as we look behind the fence. Getting Peppers for possible a second round draft pick...Geez. This deal must have been in the works for awhile as It turns out the second rounder that the patriots got was from Kansas City for Cassel and Varbel will be the one the Patriots are giving up to Carolina.
     
  2. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    I've read that too. Those guys really know how to run a football team. If this is true, we need to step up right now. The 9th pick of the second round and a future 3rd rounder should be more valuable than what the Patriots are supposingly offering. The real issue is his contract, and I doubt the pats would offer something remotely close to what Haynesworth received. They just don't act this way. Like I've said before, the first concearn for a player is money, but for Peppers the Patriots would be a better fit than us. They're more ready for a superbowl run than us, and it's easier for him to play with experienced guys in the D than with ours, that is adapting to what Capers is bringing. But one can dream... Cullen Jenkins, Raji, Harrel (if healthy), Kampman, Hawk, Barnett, Peppers, Woodson, Harris, Collins and Bigby, would be an awesome D, one of the best out there...
     
  3. Jess

    Jess Movement!

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    When they get him, and they will, the New England Patriots will have won the 2010 Super Bowl.
     
  4. Eclipse612

    Eclipse612 Cheesehead

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    I hope not. Rocky Balboa was too much :) :)
     
  5. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    I would not believe any of this stuff until you read this headline first. "Pepper signs contract". Fact is Carolina can not even shop him unless he has signed the contract, which tells me he does not really want to go anywhere or is waiting until just before the draft to make his move.
     
  6. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    He cannot contact with any team, but his agent can. If Peppers sign the contract, he has to play for the Panthers. And he doesn't want that. So, what he really wants is the club to offer a proposal to his agent, with both his contract and the proposition to te team, and his agent to present that proposal to the Panthers. But if the Panthers offer him more money than Haynesworth, I doubt he won't stay...
     
  7. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    I think a deal may come the week before the draft. I think teams are a little leery of his cap number. Most QB's don't even come close to it.

    From NFL.com

     

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