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Should the Green Bay Packers Pursue Julius Peppers, DeMarcus Ware?

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Should the Green Bay Packers Pursue Julius Peppers, DeMarcus Ware?
MIKE ROEMER/Associated Press

Things were quiet in Green Bay on the opening day of free agency in the NFL. But that was to be expected. How many people out there really thought that Ted Thompson would be active on the first day?

I'm still looking to see a hand raised in the air from anyone. That's just not Thompson's modus operandi.

In 2006, the year Thompson was most active in free agency, he signed all of his free agents in the later stages of the process. The two big signings were defensive lineman Ryan Pickett and defensive back Charles Woodson.

Woodson was signed after he was released by the Oakland Raiders. The signing of Woodson has to be the second-biggest free-agent signing in Green Bay history, only behind the signing of Reggie White in 1993.

When Woodson was a member of the Raiders for the first time, he was having a decent career. But after he came to Green Bay, his career turned out to be brilliant.

In seven years as a Packer, Woodson went to four Pro Bowls, was the NFL 2009 Defensive Player of the Year, had 38 interceptions (nine for touchdowns), had 11.5 sacks, forced 15 fumbles and recovered six (one for a touchdown).

In addition to that, both Woodson and Pickett played key roles in the Packers winning Super Bowl XLV.

Woodson proved that being released in free agency doesn't mean the end of a NFL career. It also proved that signing with the right team can get you a Super Bowl ring.

There were a couple of players who were released yesterday by their respective teams who should definitely interest the Packers.

One would be defensive end Julius Peppers, formerly of the Chicago Bears, and also defensive end/outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.

I wrote a story on Tuesday about the possibility of Peppers becoming a member of the Packers.

Peppers is on the north side of 30, as he's 34, but he still put up decent numbers with the Bears in 2013.

Last year Peppers had 46 tackles, 7.5 sacks, one interception (against the Packers), forced two fumbles and a had a fumble recovery (for a touchdown).

For his career, Peppers has 563 tackles, 119 sacks, nine interceptions (two for touchdowns), 64 passes defended, a whopping 40 forced fumbles and 14 fumble recoveries (two for touchdowns).

Peppers never played in a Super Bowl as a member of the Bears, but he did come close in 2010, as the Bears were defeated by the Packers in the NFC Championship game that year.

Peppers did play in Super Bowl XXXVIII with Carolina, but the Panthers lost that game to the New England Patriots.

Peppers knows all about the Packers-Bears rivalry. He saw it first-hand for four seasons. He also knows that the Packers were the class of the NFC North during that time, as Green Bay won a Super Bowl, as well as three straight NFC North titles.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Peppers has prototypical size for a 3-4 defensive end, as he goes 6'6", 283 pounds.

The biggest connection that the Packers have that might sway Peppers to sign with the team is defensive line coach Mike Trgovac. Trgovac was the defensive line coach for Peppers his rookie year with the Carolina Panthers in 2002, and then Trgovac was his defensive coordinator from 2003 to 2008.

Because of his age, and if they were to get him to come to Green Bay, the Packers would more than likely sign Peppers to a short-term contract.

There still hasn't been a lot of noise about what teams might be interested in Peppers, plus the Packers have not scheduled any visits with any free agents as of yet, according to a story by Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin.

When Ware was released, however, there was much more of a frenzy. In fact, NFL.com's Chris Wesseling writes that the Denver Broncos are the favorite to sign Ware at this point. In his report, Wesseling also said that NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport had reported six playoff teams were pursuing Ware.

The Packers were in the playoffs last year, just in case you forgot.

But will Denver be able to pull the trigger and sign Ware? I ask that question because the Broncos were very active on day one of free agency in terms of spending, as the team signed both safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib to new contracts.

Talib's contract was a six-year deal worth $57 million, according to Wesseling, which was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Because the Broncos have the first shot at Ware and so many teams are interested, it is doubtful that the Packers will get into a bidding war, at least based on Thompson's track record running the front office of the Packers.

Tim Sharp/Associated Press

Still, if Ware leaves Denver without a deal, the Packers should be trying to get No. 94 to Green Bay as quickly as possible.

The same holds true with Peppers.

Both players have had fabulous careers in the NFL. Perhaps even Pro Football Hall of Fame careers. But neither player has a Super Bowl ring.

Yes, the Broncos played in the most recent Super Bowl, and they were beaten badly, but it looks as though John Elway and company are doing everything they can via free agency in terms of getting to the next one as well.

That might include the signing of Ware.

But it might not.

Ware had his best success in Dallas as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Last year as a 4-3 defensive end, his statistics were down compared to his production earlier in his career. In 2013, Ware only had 40 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

For his career though in Big D, Ware had 577 tackles, 117 sacks, two interceptions (one for a touchdown), 32 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries (two for touchdowns).

Ware has never played in a Super Bowl. In fact, he has only played in four postseason games in his career as a Cowboy.

Bottom line, Thompson and the Packers should be ready to strike quickly if a deal isn't done in Denver with Ware.

Likewise, they should already be making plans to visit with players like Peppers as well.

Will the Packers make a splash in free agency this year and sign someone like Julius Peppers or DeMarcus Ware?

Submit Vote vote to see results

The Packers have plenty of money to spend. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the team is $29 million and change under the cap presently.

That was after the re-signing of cornerback Sam Shields.

Yes, I know the Packers are hoping to re-sign a number of their own free agents this year, and they need to allocate funds for both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, who will be free agents next year.

But sometimes you have to bring in some talented veteran help via free agency. It worked for Thompson and the Packers in 2006 when they signed Pickett and Woodson.

Time will tell if that will happen again in 2014.

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