It just came out that Julius Peppers has agreed to a 1-year, 16.7 million dollar contract with the Carolina Panthers, which means he’ll be getting paid over one million dollars per game. Peppers has played for the Panthers for all seven of his years in the NFL after being drafted by them second overall in the 2002 NFL Draft. Peppers has been a very productive player and is 6’7″ – 283 defensive end and “freakishly athletic” but has often been criticized for taking plays off and not going 100% on ever single down and “disappearing for long stretches.” Peppers had a 14.5 sacks last season, which is a career high and is his fifth season with double-digit sack numbers. He is also the franchise’s all-time career sack leader with 70.5.
Five months ago, Peppers expressed his desire to play for another team after the Panthers playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He had said that he would never sign a long term deal with the Panthers, who then gave him a franchise tag, which he had begged them not to do. Peppers, who is 29 years old and a four-time Pro Bowler, refused to show up to the offseason mini camps and optional workouts that had taken place so far.
Since signing the lucrative contract Pepper said that he is no longer against signing a long term deal with the franchise and via a statement from his agent, Carl Carey, he said “Recently, I’ve had positive and productive discussions with the organization.” Well no kidding. You just signed a contract that gives you 16.7 million dollars guaranteed, with bonus options of 1.5 million dollars if you make the Pro Bowl and another quarter of a million if your team makes the playoffs and then an additional quarter of a million for each playoff win beyond that, giving you one of the biggest single-season contracts in NFL history. I’d hope that you’d see that as “positive and productive.” Keep in mind that him making the Pro Bowl and the Panthers making the playoffs are both very likely.
Peppers takes up such a large chunk of salary cap space that the Panthers weren’t able to sign a single free agent this offseason and even had to cut some veterans from the roster and weren’t able to re-sign long snapper, Jason Kyle, a position that a lot of fans severely underrate in terms of importance.
The Panthers needed to make sure that Pepper didn’t miss anymore offseason workout because they have a new defensive coordinator this season in Ron Meeks, who was the Colts defensive coordinator under Tony Dungy but was let go this off season when Jim Caldwell took over. Meeks runs a system that will work well with a player that possesses the size, speed and athleticism that Peppers has.
I haven’t looked at the numbers yet but when I do, I’ll be sure to provide an update showing where this contract puts Peppers in comparison to other players around the league.
I did some searching and looked up about 60 different players salaries for 2009. I’ll list them below. If there are any other players that aren’t listed that you would like me to look up, please let me know and I will be more than happy to do so.
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