Patriots Rumor Mill: Understanding Julius Peppers

Josh NasonSenior Analyst IMarch 18, 2009

If the rumors turn out to be true and the New England Patriots are able to work out a trade for Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, who exactly are the Patriots getting? Sure, the name is familiar, but what is he going to bring to the table?

To help you catch up, here's all the details and background thus far:

- The deal is rumored to be for New England's second round pick (34th overall) which they acquired in the Matt Cassel to Kansas City deal.

- Peppers was tagged with the oh-so-beloved franchise tag by the Panthers, meaning he is due to make $16.68 million this season. It's expected that if a deal happens, he would be asked to restructure his contract so it fits into the Patriots' current salary cap needs.

- While a defensive end, it's believed he would be move to outside linebacker - something he apparently wants to do.

- The upcoming season will be his eight in the NFL. In seven seasons with Carolina, Peppers has amassed 70.5 sacks and over 330 tackles. He has only two seasons where he didn't record double-digit sacks and is coming off a career-high 14.5 quarterback corrals last year.

- He is a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in '02.

- He is durable, playing a full 16 games in five of his seven seasons.

- Peppers is 29-years-old and is an imposing 6'7", tipping the scales at 283 pounds.

While the Panthers have denied any trade talks, there is a reason according to Boston Herald scribe John Tomase (yes, THAT John Tomase):

"They aren't allowed to have any trade talks involving Peppers until he signs his one-year tender - or until his agent brokers a deal with another team and comes to Carolina for approval."

A guy that doesn't want to play under a franchise tag...a defensive-minded team that he wants to play for...and a team that apparently wants him. Sounds like a done deal to me.

Josh Nason is the publisher and head janitor of New England sports and media blog Small White Ball. He began writing for Bleacher Report in 2008 and achieved Columnist status in early-2009. He can be reached at josh [at] smallwhiteball [dot-com].

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