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February 20, 2009

Updating Panthers, Peppers, Haynesworth

An 8 p.m. update (give or take a few minutes) from Indianapolis:

* The Panthers appear to have had a very quiet Friday after a most momentous Thursday.

One day after signing Jordan Gross to a multi-year contract and applying their franchise tag on Julius Peppers, the Panthers were busy with interviews and evaluations of draft prospects at the league combine.

The Panthers aren’t ready to make a move yet to re-sign top reserve lineman Geoff Hangartner, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on Feb. 27.

Unless the Panthers made a hefty offer, which they may not have the salary cap room to do, Hangartner is expected to test his value in free agency and is likely to get an opportunity to start for another team.

Hangartner enjoys playing with the Panthers, however, and teammates such as Gross are hoping he stays.

Hangartner isn’t one of the top five starters for the Panthers, but is a valued backup at center and guard, repeatedly playing well enough so there was little dropoff when he filled in for the starters.

* The general consensus at the combine, where virtually the entire league is gathered, is that Julius Peppers is more likely to be back playing for the Panthers next season than he is to be traded as a franchise free agent.


The widely-held thinking in Indy seems to be that no team will be willing to give up what it would take to wrest Peppers away from the Panthers. And there is similar agreement that the Panthers are intent on keeping Peppers and don’t want to trade him.

The bottom line is the leverage of the situation changed dramatically, switching to the Panthers’ favor, on Thursday when Peppers was franchised.

As much as Peppers and agent Carl Carey have voiced Peppers’ desire to move to another team, both have been very careful to be only complimentary in their remarks about the Panthers’ organization and coaching staff. So the notion that they’ve burned bridges is a bit exaggerated. What we’ve witnessed the past five weeks is the business of the NFL playing out in front of our eyes.

Peppers and Carey have done what they felt they had to do, and the Panthers have now done what they felt was best for the organization.

Peppers’ teammates certainly don’t mind that he has donned a business suit since late January and, as Gross said Thursday, they’d welcome him with open arms if he returned.

Could Peppers still be traded? Yes.

But the chances of that happening aren’t as high as you might think.

* Though the Atlanta Falcons have said they won’t bid for Tennessee all-pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth during the free agency signing period, there’s still a chance he could sign with one of the Panthers’ other NFC South rivals.

Tampa Bay has been reported to be highly interested in pursuing Haynesworth and new Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris did nothing to squelch that speculation Friday during an interview with reporters at the combine.

“I’m not even sure if it’s legal for me to talk about him yet because we haven’t started (the free agency period), but he definitely has talent, he’s definitely on the radar and we’ll see when that time comes,” Morris said of Haynesworth.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on February 20, 2009 at 08:30 PM | Permalink


Here is a great video from NFL.com that talks about Peppers. It realy appears that the ALL think Peppers will be back in Carolina. Everyones resentment or feelings about Peppers aside, it looks like we might have him back next year. Lets just hope he remains a professional and doesn't disappear this year.


Posted by: JD | Feb 20, 2009 8:43:41 PM

I hope if he is back he doesn't get booed the hole season. He is a great player and people should treat him as such.

Posted by: Nick | Feb 20, 2009 9:14:56 PM

So the consensus is that the Panthers will pay Peppers $16.7MM this year, then franchise him again each succeeding year (each year paying him an additional 20% of his salary)? No way. The Panthers have to either sign Peppers to a long term deal or trade him. Peppers has been very clear that he won't sign a long term deal with the Panthers. The fact that other teams won't give up what the Panthers want in return simply means the Panthers will have to take less in return. One other note which is often missed on this comment section - Peppers is under a one year contract, no team will trade two first rounders for Peppers under a one year $16.7MM contract, instead a team will trade with the Panthers only if Peppers will sign a long term deal with that team, all of which means Peppers will end up at a team of his choice. Panthers have no leverage, Peppers has all the leverage.

Posted by: Ponch | Feb 20, 2009 9:53:18 PM

Peppers is a great talent, but he's not a great player and NEVER will be. I truly wish they would deal him off to some other team who will overvalue his contributions, as much as all the above B.S. does. When will everyone realize that Julius Peppers has no passion, no emotion and no drive, which is what separates the truly great players from the pretenders? All the talent in the world will never compensate for that. Richardson called him out to be a leader last year, and his response showed exactly what he is (not). Cut him loose now, PLEASE, and get a boatload of booty in return. It can only help. As long as he remains with the Panthers, it will only continue to take away from their ability to supplement the oh-so-near group of high-end talent on this defense. What they lack is cohesion, and Peppers' apathetic 'talent' will only continue to drag them down. It's time to move on without him, and see what this defense can really aspire to.

Posted by: Wayne D | Feb 20, 2009 10:00:16 PM

This has got to be a joke...

Why would we keep Peppers now.

If we do we won't have any cap room to add depth to the team which we desparately need at multiple positions.

How stubborn and poor is management that they wouldn't even deal him for two 2nd rounders and a 3rd rounder or something...

I would take that in a heartbeat he doesn't want to be here and he won't sign a long term deal. Even if he would I don't want a 29 year old to sign a long term deal that takes all of our cap room to re-sign guys like Beason (he is the real heart of our defense) and Double Trouble.

Posted by: CJ | Feb 20, 2009 10:06:16 PM

Ponch - Not sure how you figure that..? Panthers can keep Peppers until he is to old to play, period.. the fact that it is a (1) contract means nothing,,and in some ways, is good for the Panthers.. If they were to sign him to a 5 to 6 yr contract for 70+ Mill,,,then he decides to take the year off again,, we would be overpaying for sure...or if he slows down just from age,,next yr he will be 30, which is on the downside of a football player..a year to year contract is not that bad for the Panthers..

Posted by: Catsnmbr1fan | Feb 20, 2009 10:26:17 PM

It doesn't matter what the consensus is, because it only takes one team.
However Ponch is mistaken: Peppers can sign an offer sheet with any team he wants, provided that team has first round draft picks to trade. And the Panthers can match it meaning Peppers would be obligated to a long term agreement with Carolina on the terms he agreed to with another team. Or Carolina can decide not to match it and that team owes the Panthers two first round picks.
As far as his salary increasing by 20% each subsequent year, that's not completely true either. As it stands, 2010 will not have a salary cap and the Panthers could tag him again (assuming they hadn't matched an offer sheet) and pay him 20% more. But unless an extension or new CBA is agreed to there will be no NFL football in 2011. Since nobody knows what the details of that CBA will be there is no guarantee that it will include 20% raises for franchised players.

So, as it stands now, the Panthers hold the cards. Peppers can't even sign an offer sheet with Dallas b/c they have no pick to trade (they would have to acquire a pick higher than 17th first) and even if he did sign with a team Carolina could say we're willing to pay you that and Peppers would have no choice but to accept or quit football.

Posted by: CW | Feb 20, 2009 10:27:53 PM

I think I am going to PUKE. --- Jooyus Peppahs has NEVER given as much as players listed UNDER him in NFL stats. Jooyus is going to benefit from circumstances and timing to be able to rip us off for cap space and cripple this franchise for years to come. --- ARE YOU INSANE HURNEY???????? This lazy SOB will NOT give the Panthers ANYTHING worth his value, and if he wears a Panthers jersey next year, will cost this team revenue

Posted by: wahoo | Feb 20, 2009 11:14:34 PM

The Panthers should take whatever they can get for Pep and deal him, even if it is a couple of second or third round picks.

Posted by: Phil | Feb 20, 2009 11:32:18 PM

This could go one of two ways:

Peppers could continue to take every other play off (like he has been known to do over the past two years) because of his dissatisfaction over the trade situation...

Or, Peppers could be thankful that he has a job (since millions of Americans don't) and realize that next season is his final audition for the rest of the league. If he really wants to make the money he's looking for (as if 12M+ isn't enough of an incentive), he will work his rear off and show the league his full array of talent.


Do you want to let your "pick-a-play" persona follow you for the rest of your career OR do you want to reserve your yellow blazer and invitation to the Hall of Fame. In the end, the choice is yours.

With that said, it will really come down to the question...

Do you want to be known as a typical spoiled rotten, big-headed, under-educated, over-appreciated athlete OR do you want to establish yourself as a PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS MAN with a keen sense of the TOTAL ROLE of an NFL player.

Honestly, do you want to be a BOY or a MAN about the situation?? The choice is yours (not your agents)!!!

Deep down, I know you are an intelligent athlete. I just pray you will make the intelligent decision (think with your heart and your head, not your emotions).

With all sincerity,

A "REAL" panthers fan.

Posted by: cardiac-cats-r-us | Feb 20, 2009 11:34:46 PM

Most of this artical has been speculation about if Pep will be held for this season. I wouldnt jump on Hurney yet. 17 mil is a big number in this league and yes 20% would be added to next years tag based on this years price tag. But your right in there is no league agreement for 2010 so who knows. The first round pick is a value not a hard and fast rule. The Panthers can take two seconds or combinations. My feeling this year they will trade to free cap because Fox doesnt have much of a window anymore. Not that I think he will be fire anytime soon but with the chemistry in this team and the FA in the league it is hard to hold a team together like this. I just think there is greater interest in the league for pep than i publicly said. Do you think Haynesworth is of greater value than Pep? I dont... and look at the interest in Haynesworth. Give it time. Hey why not trade for Haynesworth and One first RD?

Posted by: Eric K Hasara | Feb 21, 2009 12:28:44 AM

Business is business. If the panthers blinked first, and shopped him during the season, we would not have thought anything of it. But if the player makes the first move, he's evil. The guy has been in Carolina his whole life, playing at every level. He may just want to move to a new location. Given that most of the people living in Charlotte are transplants, we should all understand the need for a change of scenery.

As for what the Panthers need to do, I think the best move would be to play the same hand they played last draft day, any move will be a last minute draft day maneuver, that could land them multiple first round picks. The key may will be a little more complicated, as the trade may involve multiple teams, in order to get Pep to one of the two teams he would like to go, and keep him out of the NFC South.

Besides this guy is !~#$ing valuable, you don't just trade him away for nothing.

Posted by: Jose C | Feb 21, 2009 6:44:00 AM

Ponch, you are dumb. Peppers does NOT have to sign a long term deal with the Panthers to be traded. He is free to negotiate a long-term deal with ANY team right now and then once the details are finalized, that deal will be presented to the Panthers and give them a chance to match it. If we do, then we get the long term deal with him. Hurney was extremely smart about this. This is the ONE way that we steal the leverage back from Pep. Now he has to find a team that not only is willing to give up two 1st rounders, but will also give him an ungodly contract that he knows we will refuse to sign (because he will not leave it to chance that we match the sheet and he has to play with us for 5, 6, or 7 more years). And considering he has hamstrung himself by cutting the list of teams he will play for down to 4, we have all of the cards in our hand.

Now take into consideration that Julius still wants to go to another team and he will be 30 next year, and that makes the situation even more dire for him. He only has a 1 year contract guaranteed. That makes this a HUGE audition year for him. If he holds out into the preseason, if he doesn't play his heart out every single game, teams next year are going to look at him as an aging veteran who acts childish and throws a fit when things don't go his way.

Either way, Hurney has never been one to throw money around like it is going out of style. He just made Gamble one of the highest paid CBs in the league, Gross the highest paid tackle in the league, and they are holding off on signing Hangartner because they are too close to the cap to get a deal done. Add that to Hurney's cryptic remark "we WILL be under the cap at the beginning of the season" and I still feel like he has something up his sleeve for Pep. No way he wants to pay this guy 17 mil for one year, not knowing which Pep will show up. There is something going on behind the scenes.

And the "word out of Indianapolis" that Peppers is not worth the two 1st rounders is just another example of GMs and coaches not showing their hand. Noone thought Jared Allen was worth it either... Except the Vikes. And don't any of you remember the Sean Gilbert fiasco right here in Carolina??? There are teams out there salivating over Pep right now if for no other reason than his freakish athletic ability. And if he really doesn't want to be here, that list of 4 teams he will play for will begin to grow. Mark my words, he will be gone next season. And that 1st rounder on 2010 will be nice. Pair it up with our other 1st rounder, trade up and grab Colt or Bradford to replace Fumblehomme. God we can only hope.

Posted by: Steve | Feb 21, 2009 8:19:20 AM

There may be teams salivating over Peppers right now, but not at that pricetag. Face it, we are stuck with him for now. On the bright side I dont think he will intentionally play bad because that will effect his trade status for the following year. Our new defensive coordinator needs to think about using Peppers in different ways. He should run some 3-4 schemes (not all the time). Put Peppers in at OLB in those schemes, because I agree with Pep that he could be very effective with his speed and athleticism from that position.

Posted by: FortuneFavorsTheBrave | Feb 21, 2009 8:26:44 AM

I hope the Panthers do whatever necessary to get rid of Peppers. The amount of production he gives you for the amount of money he will cost (over $16 million) certainly isn't worth it. On top of that, he's not a leader in the locker room, or even just one of the guys. How many Panthers have stepped up and announced that they hope the Panthers will do whatever it takes to keep him here? None!

I think Hurney has done the right thing, and if Peppers wants out as badly as he says, then let his agent do HIS job, and find a team that is willing to give us some decent draft picks for him.

Posted by: Allen | Feb 21, 2009 8:34:35 AM

i knew this was going to happen. i predicted that no team is going to give up 2 first rounders for peppers.now were stuck with a hugh cap hit,plus gross used the situation to get a bigger deal,plus i have to watch this bum laughing on the sidelines all next year. cant we trade the jerk for a half decent player even up and get at least something for him? damn!

Posted by: ray | Feb 21, 2009 10:53:01 AM

Steve -- You had me until your last line...Then you showed how you don't have a clue either..!!! You would waste a 1st round pick on a QB, when you need defensive help.. Plus you wasted 2 min of my life reading your novel.. try and keep it under 1,000 words next time..

Posted by: Catsnmbr1fan | Feb 21, 2009 12:57:58 PM

I think the most likely scenario is for the Panthers to trade Pep for less than two first round picks. I suspect they'll get 1 first rounder, and maybe a second, and a third. I think anytime you get 3 for 1 in the NFL, it's a good deal. My gut tells me Denver, which would give us the #12 pick. Should be able to pick up a good DL there, unless for some reason Stafford falls which is unlikely.

Posted by: magicman | Feb 21, 2009 4:13:48 PM


First of all, I said we should draft a QB in the 2010 draft, which is NEXT offseason. Not that a 35 year old QB who already can't throw or make good decisions needs to have an heir apparent or anything. The rest of the positions on offense are settled, and I count at least 7 starters on the defense who are FIRMLY entrenched in their jobs. Kemo, Beason, Davis, Gamble, Lucas OR Marshall, Harris, and Godfrey. I think most agree Lucas SHOULD go, but that doesn't mean he WILL go. Diggs is also probably staying, and Charles Johnson got 6.5 sacks in limited duty this year, which I am guessing means he will be given the chance to start next year (IF Pepp is not still around). I count another 2 LBs who are gunning for playing time in Connor and Anderson, which means that this offseason we need to shore up TWO spots on the defense, both on the D-line. The problem with our defense last year wasn't talent, it was coaching scheme. Any fan who watches the games should have been able to see that. Now, we have completely overhauled that area, which hopefully means we will play more aggressively this year (unless some peoples' conspiracy theory about everyone bolting because Fox wouldn't let them coach more aggressively is true). If that is true, then bolstering the talent isn't going to do a bit of good.

Finally, I will write comments that are as long as I want them to be. I only comment on here occasionally, so consider it a compilation of comments for lost time. I, on the other hand, purposefully skim this blog and ONLY read the long posts because usually they are the only ones where the poster has put any thought into what they are saying.

Your comment about my post being too long probably means that you are one of the many people who haven't read a real book since high school (and you probably got the Cliff Notes then). So go ahead and sit back and read your "People" magazine and bypass my posts, I won't cry. You are only a reflection of our ignorant A.D.D. society as a whole, and I can't really blame you for that.

Posted by: Steve | Feb 21, 2009 4:36:38 PM

I guarantee I will not set foot in the National Bank of America Stadium if Jooyus is wearing a Panthers jersey. I will give the ticket away to an unsuspecting moron.

Posted by: wahoo | Feb 21, 2009 7:18:13 PM

This is crazy. lol. The Panthers are acting like a kid whos covering his ears yelling out words because they don't want to hear what anyone has to say. I really don't know why they are trying to keep a player whos heart isn't into the team they play for and who plays very inconsistantly on the field(not to mention he's pushing 30).

Posted by: marvel | Feb 21, 2009 9:08:56 PM

I'm an unsuspecting moron.

Posted by: juan | Feb 21, 2009 9:25:22 PM

Peppers, a great talent? Yes. A great player? No. You have to have heart to be a great football player. Julius Peppers doesn't have that and never will.

Posted by: Panthers Super Fans | Feb 21, 2009 10:11:46 PM

I think peppers wants to be traded to the cowboys because he doesn't want to face the pressure of being in a playoff game.

But on the serious note, this is all hot air posturing, peppers isn't leaving, just trying to get the best deal possible, but it's hard to do that with an amatuer for an agent. see the attached link bottom story: http://blogs.charlotte.com/panthers/2006/02/index.html

Carl Carey was peppers academic advisor at unc, and has only been an agent since 2005.
Does Carey have any other clients besides peppers? maybe if peppers had professional representation they would have checked that peppers couldn't be traded to dallas because dallas doesn't have a first round pick next year. and why dallas, is DeMarcus Ware suddenly no longer on the planet? in 3 seasons ware has 50 sacks and 299 tackles, in peppers 7 seasons he has 70.5 sacks and 339 tackles. i know peppers is a defensive end and has more outside contain responsibilites, but he does that well, just look at the Tampa Bay game in Carolina. just watch it peppers or you will end up in oakland, where carolina will be sure to get the most of their first round compensation.

Posted by: jay bee | Feb 22, 2009 1:45:57 AM

Looking at all this I LOVE Marty Hurney, Best GM Ever in the history of football!

So let Julius Peppers say he wants out of this place, thats fine, after awhile there is no salary cap in football, so, if we continue to franchise him, I know my man Jerry Richardson is willing to get rid of a TON of money for principal alone over that big oaf known as a Julius Peppers, franchise him again next year, and again, and again, if his play drops off at all, so does his value, but the panthers can keep paying boat loads of money for him just to finish his career, I mean cmon, in 4 years of franchising he will be what, 11 years in the league? I mean after that let him go who cares. So keep on going Marty Hurney and Jerry Richardson, Pay him an assload of money every year and never let him leave, and if he doesnt play, then let him go and no one will sign him to big bucks anyways, lets just do what we need to do to ruin peppers or just force him to play for us.

Posted by: Derek | Feb 22, 2009 9:02:34 AM

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