Carolina Panthers: We Still Got Some Pepper in the Shaker

Josh JusticeContributor IApril 17, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 08:  Julius Peppers #90 of the Carolina Panthers walks off the field after a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 8, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Since the news broke that Julius Peppers was looking for the fastest train out of Carolina, fans we’re in shock and destroyed all in one day. After we got the news that we placed the franchise tag on him there was some relief.

Then came the word that the Patriots were in trade talks to acquire Peppers in a deal. It all proved to be false but it still sent scares through the Panthers nation.

Here we are around draft time and the scares are coming back for some. Could the Panthers trade Peppers for a star player and some draft picks? Only time will tell that but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Julius Peppers is a great player, and with a great player comes a great paycheck. Not many teams are willing to put that large of a dent in their salary cap. So why did the Panthers do it?

Easy answer, we don’t really need that much from free agency. We have 21 of our 22 starters back next year, sadly the one player we are missing is Ken Lucas and not Jake Delhomme. Only losing one starter from a team that made the playoffs is definitely not a bad situation.

Draft wise we are hurting without a first round pick but this isn’t a very strong draft year in my opinion, so what could have hurt us in a huge way only hurts us a little. Second rounds are where the sleeper defensive ends may lurk so I look for us to pick up one with our first pick in the draft.

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So will Peppers perform out be like Chad Johnson and be a whiner. Look for Julius to perform like he has for the past seven years. If he doesn’t perform well in a year that he becomes a free agent then he doesn’t do well in free agency.

If Peppers doesn’t perform well teams may look at this as his overall performance decreasing. He has been in the NFL for seven years, and he has one awful year on his resume. He needs to show every team in the NFL that his 2007 season was a fluke. The only way to do that is by having back-to-back huge years.

Panther fans fear not we got Peppers for another year, and truth be told we may have the best Peppers yet. He’s going to play his heart out this year to prove his ticket out of Carolina will be worth the price to be paid.

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