In a shocking piece of news, it appears that the Chicago Bears have come to terms to release All-Pro Defensive End, Julius Peppers. The move was made as a salary cap saver, which made total sense after the Bears signed Jay Cutler to a major deal last year.
The cap was hit hard as well when the team decided to take on free agent defensive end Lamarr Houston, free agent safety Ryan Mundy, and the incumbent middle linebacker D.J. Williams. Peppers does have interested parties, but he is clearly not the same player he was years ago.
Peppers was not the only person cut this month, as several big names were cut. Chicago has even cut Devin Hester in just the last few weeks, and he has been known as one of the most dymanic players in the game. So this is really coming down to money for the Bears more than anything else.
Cutting Julius Peppers saves $9.8 million against the 2014 salary cap. Of course, that is if they do not designate him a post-June 1st cut, which is unlikely. He is scheduled to count approximately $8.4 million in “dead money” against the Bears’ salary cap in 2014. At the end of the day, it saves millions to cut Peppers.
The idea is sound, but it’s also flawed. Peppers may be older, but he put up solid numbers over the extent of his career. The previous two seasons with Chicago, he put up 11 or more sacks. This past year he dipped to 7.5 sacks, better than most. On top of that, he had an INT and fumble recovery as well as 31 tackles. There was even a defensive touchdown involved for him too. Peppers put up similar numbers n his first season with the Bears.
Julius clearly has some football left in him. So he does not somehow come into a team looking bad. It seemed Chicago didn’t want to let him go, but really did so out of business alone.
General Manager Phil Emery said regarding the release:
“We appreciate Julius’ contributions to the Bears over the last four years. He was a leader on our defense starting every game since coming to Chicago. His accomplishments over his NFL career place him among the best defensive ends over the past 20 years. The Chicagoland community has benefited greatly from his quiet generosity. We wish him the best.”
Julius Peppers may no longer be a Bear, but we do know that he will land somewhere eventually as a free agent. The main issue for Peppers will be the money. He made a lot in Chicago, and chances are he will want the same type of money wherever he goes.
Peppers simply won’t get massive money at his age, despite the numbers he put up in his time with Chicago. He is owed a bit from the Bears, so that combined with maybe a 5 million a year, 2-3 year deal might be something we could expect max for Peppers.
Julius Peppers certainly is one of the best defensive ends in the history of the game. The main issue for him will be that he will have to sell to an organization that he is still in good football shape and has time left in him to help a team. He may want to end up with a title contender, but that’s easier said than done.