Chicago Bears Hope Julius Peppers Can Spice Up Defense

Gene ChamberlainCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 03:  Julius Peppers #90 of the Carolina Panthers looks on the sidelines during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Julius Peppers' first unrestricted free agency stop will be in Lake Forest on Friday to talk to the Bears.

It's up to general manager Jerry Angelo and ownership to make it his last stop.

According to the Chicago Tribune, an offer has already been extended and Peppers likes the team because veterans Brian Urlacher, Tommie Harris, and Lance Briggs are already in place on the defense.

Such a signing has been compared in some circles to the Green Bay Packers' signing of Reggie White, a move which no doubt made their Suoer Bowl victory after the 1996 season possible.

While that type of comparison might rankle some Packer fans, there are similarities. Peppers isย arguably amongย the most dominant pass rushers of the past eight years. He is only 30. White was 32 when he played for the Packers for the first time.

Earlier this week, several sources close to the Carolina Panthers said the Bears will likely be getting a defensive end version of the former Panthers wide receiver they signed as a free agentโ€”Muhsin Muhammad.

By that, they meant Peppers is over 30 and plays when he feels like it. Muhammad had been known to the Carolina media as "the flower" because following a 40-point blowout loss to the Raiders, he had remarked about his handful of receptions, "From the ashes and the rubble, I guess you could say a flower grew today."

Muhammad helped the Bears get to the Super Bowl, but never really produced at a high level. However, he did enough to take pressure off Bernard Berrian while he developed into a No. 1 receiver, and the Bears eventually had enough wide receiver talent to make even Rex Grossman look good at times.

Peppers is several years younger than Muhammad was when he left Carolina. Also, he'd be joining a defense that has enough veteran talent to immediately make the Bears defense a force again, even if they continue playing that archaic Cover-2 scheme they've used since Lovie Smith arrived at head coach.

The Bears almost never bring a free agent into town without signing him. It's been their policy since Angelo took over as general manager.

ESPN reported the Bears also are bringing in Minnesota Vikings running back Chester Taylor for a talk on Friday.ย  Signing Taylor would deal a severe blow to a division rival, and also provide a badly needed offensive commodity.

The Bears badly overworked Matt Forte in his first two years, and their only relief help available at this point is Kevin Jones and his weak knee, along with undersized Garrett Wolfe.

Taylor's receiving ability and blocking skills in the passing game make him an ideal fit for new offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system.


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