Carolina Panthers Tag Julius Peppers but Jordan Gross "Is It!"

NC Nighthawk@NC Nighthawk (my Xbox gamertag)Analyst IFebruary 20, 2009


I am a very happy Carolina Panthers fan. Carolina retained our starting LT for six years and tagged the mildly retarded DT and OLB wannabe to get two No. 1 draft picks.

I bet Jordan Gross blocked Julius Peppers very well in practice this past summer camp/preseason and regular season.  How many pancakes?

No wonder Peppers wants to leave the Carolina Panthers to get a fresh start elsewhere in order to “fully reach his potential as a player.” He gets outplayed in practice.

By keeping Jordan Gross, the Panthers’ offense, with their other capable linemen,  will continue to “reach their full potential” in the rushing game and provide the passing game with opportunities to make plays.

We know Steve Smith makes plays.  As he ages, can Jake Delhomme make the plays to help his team win in the post season?

That’s a question to explore in another article.

Back to the fact that Carolina tags Peppers but Gross “is it!”

The Carolina Panthers reached a contract agreement with left tackle Jordan Gross and placed their franchise tag on defensive end Julius Peppers.

A sigh of relief after some drama until the last day.

Gross is safe! And Peppers? Outta here!

But “outta here” for two No.1 draft picks!

With Gross secured, the Panthers placed their franchise tag on Peppers, who said on a conference call last Saturday that he would ask to be traded if tagged.

Jordan Gross: you da man!

Gross had his best season in 2008. He was selected first-team all-pro and was an NFC Pro Bowl starter.

Gross has started 103 games in his six-year career with the Panthers, including eight in the post-season. His only missed start came last season against Kansas City, when he sat out with a concussion suffered the previous week against Atlanta.

And the gross pay?  Please pardon the pun.

According to sources, Gross received a front-loaded, six-year contract that pays him $30.5 million over the first three years of the deal.

This is the most lucrative three-year payout ever to an offensive lineman!

Jordan Gross said he is thrilled to be staying with the Carolina Panthers and considers it a “great honor” that his six-year contract totaling almost $60 million is the highest paid to a veteran offensive lineman in NFL history.

Jordan Gross: you da man!

Gross is one of the leaders of the offensive line and team. He is a man who is an excellent player and a perfect fit for this team as a player and individual.

He is one of the top left tackles in the league and the offensive line was one of the strong parts of the team last season. Jordan was a very big part of it.

Keeping a top player like Jordan at left tackle is important for the Panthers to keep moving forward.

Jordan Gross: you da man!

And Julius Peppers?

You know the story: Peppers dominates one or two or maybe three games and then takes a vacation. 

Or maybe he was just being held by that offensive linemen all game? Or was it some mysterious virus developed over the summer and still in his system in December?

Julius was awesome when he made plays that disrupted the opposition’s offense.  However, Peppers never even started being a real team leader, especially vocally and in the locker room.

His play on the field spoke for itself in both many positive but some negative ways.

Where was Julius in the playoff loss to ArizonaKurt Warner is still looking for him.  Peppers did have a great “seat” as a spectator in that game. 

Peppers is one of the most private public figures of our time.  After seven seasons in Charlotte, we still don’t know what makes Julius tick.

Did you see Julius’ interview at the Pro Bowl?  He came across as uneducated. He seemed to smile and mumble, then repeat.

Did Peppers ever look that NBC sports sideline reporter in the eye?

I would love to see Pepper’s UNC transcript.  Did he ever graduate from college? Probably not.

However, Julius is a remarkable athlete.  He has some serious speed for a man his huge size.  He can play football, basketball, and even track and field very well.

I’ve seen games in which Peppers hustled every play from sideline to sideline.  I’ve also seen games in which Julius just stood up, watched, and maybe jog a little.

Although Julius Peppers is inarticulate and comes across as mildly retarded, he has elite defensive skills and once he is traded, will be most very well compensated as well.

We have already heard that according to a source close to Peppers, he has a list of four teams to which he would accept a trade.

Of those four, three are in the NFC, including two the source said Carolina probably wouldn’t trade Peppers to and Dallas, which doesn’t have a first-round pick to trade away.

The Panthers are looking for two No. 1 picks for Peppers. Too bad Julius does not want to go to Detroit.

I say trade Peppers to the AFC.  Are the Patriots or Steelers his AFC team of choice?  Do we really care?

The AFC team has not been identified, but possibilities include Miami, New England and Denver.

The Dolphins and Patriots play the 3-4 defense Peppers has said he prefers, and the Broncos are said to be switching to a 3-4.

Let’s see how Peppers handles things at OLB in a 3-4.  I will be surprise if he wouldn’t be burned a lot, especially his first season learning a new position and a new defensive system.

Julius is known for rushing and pressuring the QB, not for stopping the run.

By franchising Peppers, the Panthers automatically were required to make him a one-year tender offer of $16.683 million. That represents a 20 percent increase over his 2008 salary cap figure.

It is nearly double the standard 2009 franchise tender requirement for defensive ends of $8.991 million (an average of the top five highest ’08 cap numbers for defensive ends).

The franchise tag gives the Panthers the option of trading Peppers, signing him to a long-term contract extension, or having him play the 2009 season under the franchise tender.

The ball is in Carolina’s court and they are in control.

Julius Frazier Peppers was named for two former NBA players: (1) “Dr. J” – Julius Erving and (2) Walt Fraizer.

Peppers has said he will not sign an extension with the Panthers and wants to get a fresh start elsewhere in order to “fully reach his potential as a player.”

Peppers’ primary passion in school was basketball, not football.  Perhaps if he does not find fulfillment as an OLB in a 3-4 defense, he will try the NBA.

Julius also starred as a triple jumper and sprinter in track in high school.  Will he try out for the USA Summer Olympics team to reach his full potential?

Maybe after he retires, Peppers will “write” a book and reveal to us that he has multiple personalities (or multiple personality disorder) like Hershel Walker.


Quote of the Day:
One way to stop a runaway horse is to bet on him.
--Jeffrey Bernard

1 John 4:11-12 “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

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