OK, sit down, relax, and catch your breath – yes that tweet you just read is apparently true … former Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers has signed a three-year deal with the Green Bay Packers. Specific contract details were not immediately available.
The news broke through Twitter and I must admit that having been off the grid last night, I didn’t see any other reports about the Packers even sniffing around Peppers.
But here we are, Ted Thompson haters … all you folks who haven’t been happy that Thompson hasn’t reached out beyond 1265 Lombardi Avenue in search of players to bolster the team – especially on the defensive side of the ball. Thompson has broken the mold in this signing and has, without Peppers even stepping once onto the field, shaken up the Packers defense.
The only sure things on the defensive line is that the Packers also re-signed B.J. Raji, they have Datone Jones, Mike Daniels, Jerel Worthy and Josh Boyd in house. C.J. Wilson, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly are still out there on the free agent market. Will Thompson attempt to sign any of those guys now that he’s brought Peppers into the house?
And how will this affect the Packers and their Draft board?
Peppers will come to Green Bay as a 34-year-old defensive end who has been durable and productive. In his career he has missed only two games. He was the second overall selection by the Carolina Panthers in the 2002 NFL Draft, played eight seasons with the Panthers before leaving in free agency for the Chicago Bears in 2010.
In his career, he has 119 sacks, nine interceptions, 2 touchdowns (the longest return being 97 yards), 64 passes defensed and 40 forced fumbles. He’s also had 454 tackles and 109 assists.
To me, those are Hall of Fame numbers.
But how much does he have left in the tank? Can he give the Packers at least a season or two of solid production? How will he fit in the locker room?
So many questions, but plenty of time to answer them.
It’s been an interesting first week of free agency for Green Bay as they, for the most part, stood by and watched billions of dollars fly around and players nearly by the minute change teams.
The Packers silently worked their own players – re-signing cornerback Sam Shields, Raji, OLB Mike Neal and tight end Andrew Quarless. Clearly, the focus in free agency has been defense – a pretty clear need and a good strategy by Thompson. Peppers only adds to the renewal on that side of the ball.
Now the question is whether Thompson is done with free agency … will he continue to look for the value players he could plug into the roster?
Stay tuned …