Could Julius Peppers End Up as a Member of the Green Bay Packers?

Bob FoxContributor IMarch 11, 2014

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball ahead of Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Things are starting to get crazy as we are now just a few hours away from the start of free agency in the NFL.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday (h/t's Gregg Rosenthal), that the Chicago Bears are looking to trade veteran defensive end Julius Peppers.

If a trade can't be worked out, Peppers would just be released. The reason? Peppers currently has a $13.9 million salary and $20 million cap number.

According to Rapoport, (h/t's Chris Wesseling), the Bears are interested in signing free agent defensive end Lamarr Houston of the Oakland Raiders to replace Peppers.

Rapoport had also claimed the Green Bay Packers were interested in Houston, while The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson reported defensive end Arthur Jones of the Baltimore Ravens was drawing the Packers' interest as well.

So, what if the Bears release Peppers and sign Houston as his replacement? And what if the Indianapolis Colts sign Jones, which is being predicted by Wilson's sources?

Where would that leave the Packers in their search for an athletic defensive end? And where would that leave Peppers, who just turned 34 in January?

Could they end up together?

That could be a possibility. Yes, Peppers is 34, but if the Packers could sign the former North Carolina star to a one- or two-year contract at a reasonable cost, maybe it could happen.

Peppers has had a great career in the NFL, as he has 119 career sacks, including 7.5 in 2013. Peppers has also forced a whopping 40 fumbles in his career, including two last year.

In addition to that, Peppers has the perfect size for a 3-4 defensive end, as he goes 6'6", 283 pounds.

The ace in the hole the Packers have is their defensive line coach, Mike Trgovac, who was Peppers' defensive line coach in 2002 and defensive coordinator from 2003-08 when Peppers was with the Carolina Panthers.

Trgovac knows Peppers as well as anyone in the NFL from a coaching standpoint, and he obviously has great respect for Peppers.

Per this 2011 article by Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago, Trgovac commented on the rumor that his former pupil takes plays off: 

He had it [the reputation] coming out of college. I always attribute it to [the fact] he's so smooth and natural. I was his position coach his rookie year, and he was rookie of the year by the way, and he only played 12 games. I did every [college] game on him because we had just been hired there in Carolina and Houston already said they were going to take quarterback David Carr, so we had to choose between Julius and Joey Harrington.

People always talked about him taking plays off and doing this, but he's just so smooth and natural that he does things so easy that people think he's being lazy. But Julius plays hard. That reputation has always followed him, and maybe will always follow him for his whole career. I don't know, I hope not, because he is a really good guy. He commands a lot of attention. What was really impressive for us [in Carolina] was his work ethic in practice. He busts his butt in practice and I don't think the kid ever got enough credit for that.

Bottom line, if the Bears do indeed release Peppers and the 38 sacks he gave them in four years, the Packers would seem to be a possible landing spot for No. 90.