There's an old saying that goes, "You're only as strong as your weakest link."
The way I've seen things in recent years with the Panthers, the performance of Jake Delhomme has way overshadowed that of Julius Peppers.
Julius Peppers, a former first round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers, has underperformed his entire career.
If you break down each season, Peppers has been mediocre at best. He's had spikes in performances from game-to-game and season-to-season.
The rest of the time has been drops in production, his worst year being in 2007, where he garnered two-and-a-half sacks, 38 total tackles, and five passes defensed.
In his time with the Panthers, Peppers has averaged just over 10 sacks per season. Nothing impressive, but fairly productive; certainly not worth $17 million for one season.
Peppers has also produced an average of 47 tackles per season, which is being generous, considering that three out of those seven years he was under 47 total tackles.
For those who think that the absence of Julius Peppers will weigh heavily on the outcome of the Panthers season, I assure you that will not be the case.
For the other half who say "Okay, the Panthers season will weigh more heavily on the play and decision making of Jake Delhomme," I say not necessarily.
When I look at Peppers' career as a Panther, I am disappointed. So far, the three best seasons he turned in while in Carolina, were 2004, 2006, and 2008.
If anything, the Panthers have been cheated by Peppers since the year after his rookie season. He has not lived up to nor exceeded expectations consistently, to warrant the lucrative contracts he's signed his name to.
Now Peppers has the Panthers in a corner. Until he signs his franchise tender, he holds all the marbles, unless the Panthers rescind the franchise tag and kick Peppers to the curb, which I would applaud them for doing so.
Up to this point, Jake Delhomme has also been more of a team player than the highly coveted Julius Peppers, who has in effect, been holding the Panthers hostage over a franchise tender that will pay him more than one million dollars a game in 2009!
Delhomme restructured his deal shortly after the start of the offseason to help free up cap space, and then later on before the draft, he signed a restructured contract that would help free up more space for the Panthers, since Peppers has been hell-bent and stubborn to get whatever he can from holding management hostage.
This shows me that Peppers, while idolized by most Panthers fans, is a man who is all about himself, is worried about his best interest, what's in it for him, and how does he benefit?
Peppers is a financial, moral, and under-performing hindrance on this franchise; he is not a team player.
Peppers can be likened to a primadonna with his unwillingness to contribute for the overall cause of what this team is setting forth to accomplish every year. His greed and stubbornness have engulfed him, and those who can't come to the realization that the Panthers are better off without Peppers, are being bamboozled.
Like any aspect in life, whether it's a person, an organization; the smallest entity of a life form to the largest conglomeration of free enterprise, change is not necessarily a bad thing.
The thought of Julius Peppers leaving the Panthers, whether by trade or in the form of a release, does not concern me in the least bit. I welcome that change.
His presence has become nothing short of a cancer to the fanbase, and it will soon eat at the locker room as the season draws near, creating what could be a huge distraction to otherwise productive hopes on a season where a lot of jobs are on the line yet again.
I am ready to see what the new class of Panthers will bring to the team, and how they will congeal with who is already in place to contribute to making this team better than it was last season and the season before.
The Panthers don't need an adverse disruption from a member who is in it for himself and wants to make a scene while collecting his inflated salary.
My message to team owner Jerry Richardson and GM Marty Hurney, with whom I hold the utmost respect: Keep Charlotte clean. Do your part to put inflated egos where they belong.
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