The Panthers have until 4 p.m. Thursday to apply the franchise tag. That's 31 hours from the time this was posted.
I think they'll sign Jordan Gross and apply the tag to Julius Peppers. I've thought that since Peppers announced he no longer wanted to play for the Panthers.
If the Panthers sign Peppers and trade him, however, there is a risk. There are certain teams to which Carolina won't trade Peppers. You wouldn't expect to see him, for example, wearing the uniform of Atlanta, Tampa Bay or New Orleans.
And there are certain teams to which Peppers would veto a trade. Say what you want about him, but this is about more than money, or he would have accepted Carolina's contract offer before the 2008 season. Remember, he was coming off his worst season and the Panthers were offering to make him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. And still Peppers said no.
Trades crumble all the time. And if the Panthers apply the tag, and can't make the trade, they retain Peppers for one season. They pay $17 million for a player who might show up, or might not, and does not want to be in Carolina.
Despite what college basketball and racing fans contend, the most popular sport in Charlotte is the NFL. The second most popular sport , at the moment, is the NFL off-season.