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February 23, 2010

Panthers to explain their decision to let Peppers become a free agent

Julius Peppers' days with the Carolina Panthers are over and after weeks of silence, the team finally will discuss its position on the matter this afternoon when general manager Marty Hurney meets with the media.

According to a source close to the situation, Hurney will announce that the Panthers have decided to allow Peppers to become an unrestricted free agent and to forego using the franchise tag to either protect or trade his rights. The tag would have cost the Panthers more than $21.5 million, including a $1.5 million Pro Bowl incentive bonus.

Peppers and his agent, Carl Carey, have said the Panthers have made no attempts to negotiate a long-term contract extension since the season ended. It's believed that the team, and owner Jerry Richardson in particular, soured on the idea of trying to keep Peppers after negotiations last summer failed to result in a new contract.

Prior to those talks, Peppers and Richardson had a reconciliation meeting, which followed Peppers' stated desire to leave the team after the 2008 season.

Peppers, 30, went on to have 10 1/2 sacks this past season and to earn his fifth Pro Bowl bid. He also was named to the NFL's all-decade team and is the Panthers' all-time sacks leader with 81.

Hurney's news conference is scheduled to begin around 2 p.m.

We'll have full coverage, so stay tuned.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on February 23, 2010 at 08:50 AM | Permalink


sell him!!!!

Posted by: pantherjake | Feb 23, 2010 9:17:19 AM

GOOD! Now let's move Jake and throw some money at Matt Moore and a receiver to help Steve Smith.

Posted by: MattMoore | Feb 23, 2010 9:23:57 AM

It's sad to see Peppers go, but I agree that we can use this money on a handful of people who will improve the organization. Not put it all towards one crybaby. You are 30 years old Peppers, you have peaked.

Posted by: Jon | Feb 23, 2010 9:25:10 AM

We need guys who want to be here and play hard ALL the time. Peppers is the wrong guy to build the defense around. Ultimately the Panthers should be better off without him assuming they spend the money saved from Peppers' contract wisely. I can't say I'll miss him because he was more frustrating than anything else.

Posted by: Mike | Feb 23, 2010 9:30:33 AM

I think this is a bad move, if this is in fact what they are intending to do with Peppers. The Panthers don't loose anything by keeping him, it does not hurt the Cap by paying Peppers. 2010 is a uncapped year, the money would only come out of Jerry's pocket. Then with 2011 looking more like a lock-out, you would only be renting Peppers for the 1 year. Now we get nothing for a 5x pro-bowl player. Dumb move, I am not a big Peppers fan, but this is not a good business move for the Panthers.

Posted by: CatsNmbr1Fan | Feb 23, 2010 9:38:37 AM

he may be weird. he may or may not take plays off. however you cant let this guy walk. especially because its an uncapped year and they can spend freely. sign an trade or pay the man.

just letting him go shows richardson is cheap and does not want to spend to win.

if he gets released i wont spend ANY $ with the panthers this year...

Posted by: Eric | Feb 23, 2010 9:50:15 AM

First off, I hope this Peppers move is a sign of things to come, i.e. shaking it up!

Dropping Peppers may or may not be the most intelligent move but at least it alleviates some of the baggage that comes along with him. Secondly, we should dangle one of our prize young stud RBs out for trade bait, more specifically, J Stewart. We have a stud in DeAng and he has a lot of miles left in the tank. I heard the chargers were looking for a RB for Cromartie...throw in a draft pick or two and we've firmed up our secondary w/ some draft picks to boot. And while we're on the chargers...I can see LT thriving in our offense a la Stephen Davis. Anybody disagree with this scenario?

Posted by: JudasTeaste | Feb 23, 2010 9:53:54 AM

Guys just because it's an uncapped year doesn't suddenly make you worry free. We are unfortunetly living in tough economic times and Richardson may not want to pay Peppers 21.5 million dollars and pay everyone else also. Richardson does not have unlimited amounts of money, and revenue sharing will be down significantly. Richardson is playing it smart. Don't pay 21.5 million when a possible lockout is looming. Yes, they could have traded him, but then again Peppers has a nice situation making 21.5 million for one season. He could just say nah, don't like these offers, (similar to last year) and we're stuck paying. Over the long haul we saved 10-16 mil+ EVERY YEAR for like 6 years by not signing him. It was a tough choice but I respect it.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 10:01:38 AM

Then the problem is with Richardson, not Fox and Hurney after all. To keep Jake Delhomme and let Peppers walk away is just poor judgment, does he think the money he is paying Jake is well spent? Even on Peppers bad days he was more productive than Jake last year. Guess we will find out next season. Hope they don't let Matt Moore walk away. Good luck to you Julius Peppers wherever you end up. I enjoyed watching you play!

Posted by: Ram | Feb 23, 2010 10:04:23 AM


This isn't madden the video game. That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Having two pro bowl runningback is a luxury few teams have EVER had. It makes us almost every single Sunday a good runningteam agains anybody. Let me get this right.. Trade Stewart and sign LT? LT the thirty year old who averaged 3.3 yards a carry to Stewarts 5? Give me a break. Signing LT would be a gosh awful move (and he doesn't want to be a backup to Deangelo anyways). Having two good backs is a good thing. You don't need to weaken yorself to get stronger in another area that's ridiculous, in my opinion.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 10:06:27 AM

Reading some of these comments make my head hurt.

There is nothing positive about losing Pep. The defense will suffer without a superior pass rushing threat.

Posted by: ZNation | Feb 23, 2010 10:07:51 AM

I was hoping Panther's brass were positioning themselves to receive draft compensation from the Eagles or other. It would have been great to get 2nd rounder for a sign and trade to one of the top 8 teams that can't sign him now.

Be interesting to see what he signs for (and where)...not what we offered in 2007 I bet.

Posted by: usc88 | Feb 23, 2010 10:07:53 AM


It wasn't a good move to pay Jake, but had a lockout been looming last year I can bet Richardson wouldn't have wanted to pay him that much either. And, because we saved that 21.5 million (which blows away jakes contract annual salary so they don't compare) that makes it even more affordable to cut Jake now. Pay him his upfront bonus now and be done with it.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 10:09:29 AM


There is a positive to losing Peppers. You don't have to pay him 21.5 million dollars. That is as much as peyton manning makes. Rip off! No defensive lineman is worth that ESPECIALLY an underachiever like Peppers. Besides, we have to resign Moore and Davis and just because there is no cap doesn't mean Jerry has an unlimited wallet.

He's 30! I don't understand the peppers supporters. I can understand bitterness about not being able to get compensation for him, but being upset we didn't pay him that much money? Come on. This is a business, and that is money that can go to new blood or go to retain the players we have now, remember Deangelo needs a new contract next season too.

It will also be good not to have all the Peppers off season drama to worry about.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 10:14:12 AM

When Peppers refused to sign last year's tender until after the draft he made the Panthers' decision for them. He and his agent are both too dumb to understand the business side of things other than "gettin' paid"

He'll be broke three years after he stops playing football. Such a waste.

Posted by: TP | Feb 23, 2010 10:15:24 AM

He may regret not signing the longterm contract last year, but he definitely won't be broke in 3 years.

Posted by: Ram | Feb 23, 2010 10:19:55 AM

Is any one going to twitter it ????

Posted by: Danny | Feb 23, 2010 10:21:06 AM


1) The money isn't yours. You or this team will not be impacted on a non-capped year by signing him for $21M. The were, however, impacted last year when they signed him for $17M. Letting him go this year makes last year's move looked even more idiotic.

2) Meek's defense is contingent on having pressure on the QB, allowing the secondary to play a tight zone and then close quickly on receivers to prevent big plays. Without Peppers applying pressure and taking up double teams so other players can pressure the QB, we will get picked apart.

Posted by: ZNation | Feb 23, 2010 10:25:28 AM

Don't give me this "Jerry's wallet" crap until you provide me with factual numbers of how paying Pep $21 will affect the revenue generated by the Panthers. You have no credibility to speak about Jerry's financial situation.

Posted by: ZNation | Feb 23, 2010 10:27:11 AM

Peppers, forget the wine and cheeses crowd that you have in Charlotte. They are lame excuses for fans that has never played one snap of pigskin. We would welcome you with open arms in Pittsburg. Come and play some REAL football!

Posted by: SteelBeam | Feb 23, 2010 10:28:47 AM

D-Will's contract is up AFTER this season - you know, the season that will most likely be locked out. It has nothing to do with the decision to sign Pep this year.

Peppers isn't just any d-lineman, he's a top 5 d-lineman. They're not so easily replaceable.

Posted by: ZNation | Feb 23, 2010 10:30:04 AM

Bad, bad decision by the Panthers management. You can't let good football players walk out the door for nothing in return.

Posted by: PantherJon | Feb 23, 2010 10:31:33 AM

You obviously don't live in PittsburgH.

Posted by: ZNation | Feb 23, 2010 10:31:50 AM

we don't want julius peppers playing here under a long term retirement contract, if you lock him down that's what he'll play to. Let someone else figure that out. The Panthers will be better off getting a few talented players at the cost of one talented player.

Posted by: jordan | Feb 23, 2010 10:32:28 AM

Well, it is unfortunate that Julius has to leave the team. I wish him well wherever he lands. A defensive end will be measured by sacks but Julius did more than sack quarterbacks and unfortunately no one really cares about that other aspect. He is going to flourish in another system. I do hold out hope that he will return after not finding a team that will suffice his desires. He wants to test the market and he is getting that opportunity. All I know is our team picked up steam near the end of the season under a new quarterback against teams playing for more and we were able to score points and become competitive. However, our defense was a big part of it and to remove a huge chunk is costly and not smart. Mr. Richardson, I hope you made the right decision because you know Fox wanted to keep him and perhaps you want Fox out. Removing his first ever pick is one way to show him the door and close the door early on our season next year. Then again, who knows. Go Peppers! Go Panthers!

Posted by: Paul | Feb 23, 2010 10:38:13 AM

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