Carolina Panthers To Play "Deal or No Deal?" With Julius Peppers

Eric QuackenbushSenior Analyst IJuly 13, 2009

July 15 is the day.

Will Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers sign a long-term deal to keep him in Carolina?

If he does, doing so will help the Panthers out quite a bit, so that they will be able to sign a few free agents before training camp. If not, the Panthers will have no choice but to head into this season with their current roster pretty much intact.

The Panthers have yet to sign any free agents because of their salary cap woes, due in large part to the large salary that might very well get paid to Peppers, in the sum of $16.683 million for this season alone, if a contract deal is not worked out.

If the Panthers can't sign Peppers before the league's Wednesday deadline, they will have to wait until the end of the season, or postseason to try again. But even at that, the Panthers could choose to place the franchise tag on Peppers again at a cost of more than $20 million for 2010.

However, I would be very surprised that if it came to that point, the Panthers would even consider paying anyone that sum of money for only one season.

Hopefully we'll see something within the next 32 or so hours that will confirm Peppers will be in Carolina for a few more years.