Are the Carolina Panthers Set to Make a Little Noise on Draft Day?

Eric QuackenbushSenior Analyst IApril 20, 2009

This has been about the longest offseason I have watched an NFL franchise go through. No sights, no sounds, still holding onto a disgruntled defensive end, and no first round pick in sight.

This has been the offseason for the Carolina Panthers: dull, boring, lackluster—pick your adjective.

While other teams have been signing players such as Albert Haynesworth, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Braylon Edwards, or Jay Cutler, the Panthers have been looking like my cat on a lazy day—napping, eating, and looking for attention.

Right now, the Panthers can't even afford to bring in horrible "talent" like Rex Grossman, Drew Carter, Keary Colbert, or Bobby Engram.

When I left New Jersey for a vacation to North Carolina last week, I thought to myself, what an excellent opportunity to be there and hear about any news firsthand!

So far, the most exciting news has been the trade of a seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft for Packers long snapper J.J. Jansen, a move I am pretty much rolling my eyes over, and the announcing of the 2009 schedule, which left me feeling fairly queasy in its wake.

Other than those couple of items, the news is pretty much still the same, and that consists of Panthers GM Marty Hurney saying that he's confident that Julius Peppers will return to play next season for Carolina.

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Hurney has also said that Jake Delhomme is still pegged to be the starting QB this season, and that the Panthers are evaluating their options while staying flexible in the draft next weekend.

Thank goodness for all of that, as it has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.

I've read some people and heard others here in North Carolina talking about Delhomme, and why the Panthers should draft a quarterback, and I ask myself—is it just me, or is Peppers the proverbial elephant in the room that everyone seems to avoid discussing?

Last I remember, Delhomme wasn't the one keeping this team from making the moves necessary to better itself.

Peppers has really manifested himself as a cancer. I personally don't care what he did last season—this man has got to go.

I am putting it out here for all to read: Release Julius Peppers!

Having said that, I'm certain I will become the hot topic of hatred on various blog sites, but I am fine with that. If I was the Panthers GM, I would release Julius Peppers right now. Actually, I would have released him three weeks ago.

I don't care if he goes to an NFC South team even. This team desperately needs about $17 million in cap space right now, and Peppers is sitting at home laughing to himself over the hostage situation he's keeping the Panthers in.

If Julius Peppers does wind up staying in Carolina, and if he chooses to play this season, fine. I don't have a problem with that, but the damage is already done.

If he does play, and underperforms, in which case I would not be in the least bit surprised, I want every one of you who has been on the Peppers bandwagon about how great he's been to disagree with me at the end of 2009, and blame it all on the quarterback yet again.