Broken Dream: Why Julius Peppers Will Not End Up a Philadelphia Eagle
In 2004 Andy Reid made one of his biggest moves in free agency since taking over as head coach in 1999 and he did it on the very first day.
Jevon Kearse had been one of the more dominant defensive ends in the league since he was drafted by the Titans in 1999 from the University of Florida.
He had posted 47.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles in five seasons as the Titans left end.
Reid saw a chance to seize the best player in free agency and get a dominant defensive end that the team lacked since Hugh Douglas left for Jacksonville. Kearse was signed to a seven-year $49 million deal that made him one of the highest paid defensive players in the league.
Boy if only Andy could have seen what was to happen next.
Kearse was nothing short of a disappointment in his four seasons with the Eagles. He recorded only 22 sacks and six forced fumbles. He also only had one season in which he played in all 16 games.
The rest of his time with the Eagles was littered with injuries. He was eventually released in 2008 and rejoined the Titans once again.
It is quite a shame that Kearse could not produce the numbers in Philadelphia that he did in Tennessee. In 2005 the Eagles struck gold in the fifth round of the draft when they took a young man from Cincinnati named Trent Cole.
Cole was what the Eagles were hoping Kearse would be.
Since being drafted Cole has put up 47 sacks and 10 forced fumbles.
If Kearse had played as well as the Eagles were hoping when they signed him and had Cole on the other side of the line playing as well as he has it would have been a lethal combo for the Eagles.
But here we are in 2010 with the Eagles searching for a compliment to Cole on the left side. Someone who will be able to bring the kind of pressure and intimidation that the two-time Pro Bowl selection Cole has brought from the right.
Who could possibly fill that void and breathe some life back into a defense that by all other standards was a bit of a disappointment this year.
Julius Peppers right.
I know that is who everyone thinks is going to be the saving grace for the Eagles defensive line this year and I think we all agree he will probably not be in Carolina again this year.
So the Eagles could combine him with Cole and just dominate.
It is all you hear about when you read the comments by fans on just about any Eagles web site.
Peppers has played his entire career as a Carolina Panther since he was drafted in 2002.
His numbers are mind boggling in just eight seasons. 81 sacks, 30 forced fumbles, six interceptions, and 41 passes defended.
Well I am hear to breathe a little reality back into the Eagle community. Peppers will not be an Eagle next year no matter how much we all want him to be. Here are a few reasons why.
Reid has already been burned once by paying top dollar for a veteran that had posted good numbers in the past.
I know that Peppers is better than Kearse in that he has been extremely healthy as he has played in every game seven out of the eight seasons he has played.
He has also had double digit sacks in six of the eight seasons.
You can't just hope he will do the same thing for your team. You have to know and for some reason players don't always transition well to the Eagles blitzing scheme.
Another reason would be that Peppers just turned 30-years-old.
To some that is a very young age for a defensive lineman. After all we are not talking about a running back here who really only gets five to six good years.
However, any Eagles fan will tell you that if you can make it on the team and you are over 30 then you are a damn good ball player that has been with Reid for a while. Sooner or later though you will be cut for your age.
Don't believe me then just ask Brian Dawkins. Still playing great and made it to the Pro Bowl this year, but he is 35 and even he could not be spared by Reid's rule of thumb.
One final thing to remember is that barring a miracle of miracles there will be no salary cap this year.
Guess what that means folks.
Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder will simply be able to buy anyone they want and there is not a damn thing anyone can do to stop it.
If Snyder wants Peppers to play on the line with Haynesworth and Orakpo, which I think he will, then Peppers will be in Washington.
The Eagles will not get into any bidding wars. That is just not how Reid operates.
I will be the first to say that I hope I am wrong.
There are whispers of a trade that would send an Eagles quarterback to Cleveland for Shaun Rogers straight up.
That is a great trade.
If Peppers were to come into the mix with Rogers and Cole...
I have got to stop. My mouth is starting to water.
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