Packers XLV

Packers Pick Pass Rusher Peppers to Provide Pick-Me-Up

Posted March 15th, 2014 @ 06:03pm

So I'm in the middle of co-hosting "In the Zone" on Saturday morning. Just threw it to our second break, at about 8:30. Looking at my phone, reading a text when Trent Tucker, watching the ESPN crawl, says, 'Davey, the Pack signed Julius Peppers.'

Now, Trent's not one to pull my leg. I looked up, missed the crawl, but jumped on Twitter and there it was. Made for a nice return to the show, where I could fire up the "breaking news" sounder and talk about what it might mean.

It's big news now, but we won't really know until next January whether it was a good move. What was reported as a 3 year, $30 million deal, is in reality a one-year $8.5 million deal. The contract was structured to count just $3.5 million against the cap in  2014. That's a very reasonable cap number for an aging, once great pass rusher, who will probably play hard in half the games. If he's healthy for the last quarter of the season and the playoffs, chances are he will be a factor for the Pack's one-note pass rush.

Now, those who know me know that I'm not one to covet former Bears (though a bargain basement one-year deal with Devin Hester would be just fine with me). I still think of Peppers as a Panther--that helps justify it in my mind. I also remember how close he came to ending the Pack's season on the final play of the week 17 game at Soldier Field, when John Kuhn got just enough of a chip on him to allow Aaron Rodgers to escape and find Randall Cobb for the division winning touchdown.

We all know the Packers need to find more playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. We hope that youngsters like Datone Jones, Mike Daniels, Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward make a jump. That Clay Matthews can stay healthy. And most importantly, that Ted Thompson identifies an impact safety in the first two rounds and an athletic inside linebacker not much later. If the Pack doesn't add a veteran tight end in the next month or so, that will be a draft priority as well.

But as we look back at the first week of free agency, you have to be satisfied with what Thompson has done. They were never in play for one of the high-priced safeties and they were able to re-sign five key guys: Shield, Raji, Neal, Quarless and Lattimore. The only loss as I write this is center Evan Dietrich-Smith (to the Bucs). It appears Jermichael Finley is close to a deal with the Seahawks.

The impending departure of Finley is disappointing, but not surprising. His health is in question and the Packers are notoriously cautious about moving forward with players who have suffered neck injuries. If he signs with Seattle, I'll wish him well (for 15 out of the 16 games) and hope he can continue to play the game he loves for as long as he wants to. The Pack likes what it sees in Brandon Bostick and if the safeties are gone in round one, but Eric Ebron from North Carolina is the pick. Packer fans will likely be saying 'Jermichael who?' by mid-season.

As for the center position, there are a few available veterans who have been starters. If Thompson passes on one of them, they'll likely look to let JC Tretter and Don Barclay compete to earn the job.

A week ago, it looked like Shields, Raji and Neal were headed elsewhere. Now they're all back and they welcome former foe Peppers, who reunites with Mike Trgovac and the Packers wait to find out if their low risk investment pays off in January when the lights are brightest.


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Comments (9):

I am a fan of the Peppers signing, I think he will add some things to the defense. I would like them to pick up a veteran safety, even if it is Jim Leonhard, just somebody. I think S in round 1, and IL B in round 2.

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on December 6th, 2014 at 08:07pm

Closed Circuit to the \"Voice\" The JPEP deal is exactly what Larry and I have been trying to get across to you. A deal that does not break the salary cap bank and a nice addition to a team trying to win now. In reality its a 1 year deal on a 3 year contract. So if he has a nice year you keep him. Surprised TT took even this chance....he must have been on that 3rd martini at the Friday Happy Hour. I agree with Davy...if you can get Devin Hester on a relative decent money deal that is cap friendly he would be worth it. Voice....this is how you build teams to win \"Now\" GO PACK GO !!

on March 15th, 2014 at 01:58pm

Yeah, yeah, yeah…you’ve been waiting for my reaction to this, so here we go. The one and only reason I’ll go along with it is that it’s not a cap busting deal, but in principle, I’m not in favor of this signing because Peppers is 34. But having said that, I’ll take a wait and see approach to see what he has left. He wasn’t particularly impressive last year, at least in my eyes, which is why I’m still skeptical about it. Thompson obviously thinks there’s something there worthy of the investment. Let’s hope he’s right for everyone’s sake. So I guess that means I’m on record stating I disagree with TT on this, but it wouldn’t bother me in the least if I’m proven wrong…which also means I’d feel lousy if I was right. Prove me wrong, JP!

on March 15th, 2014 at 02:24pm

I LIKE this move today, I do reserve the right to rip it if he gets hurt or does nothing and I also reserve the right to LOVE it if he blows up and leads us to a SB win. All bases covered..

on March 16th, 2014 at 09:24am

well, I was waiting for some other fans to post after signing Peppers, I guess there all on vacation. I am very happy with signing and love what peppers said, \"you have to have great qb to win a championship, that is part of the reason I came to the Packers\". i am very worried about EDS though. as u all remember I was the only one who didn\'t want wells to leave, and it took us a year to find EDS to fill the hole. now I am guessing they will put Barclay there. Can he shotgun snap and call the pre snap line calls? shotgun snaps are what we do, and they have to be great for 12 to win and flourish. I do like Gyion signing, he fills a hole and backup and Picket is gone now I think. he has been great but I think he is done here. I still want Jolly back for locker room morale and backup. let\'s hope worthy and Jones can pull there wait this year. Get Ebron or Pryor, LETS PLAY>

on March 18th, 2014 at 11:40am

While it\'s refreshing to see the Packers active this year in free agency my enthusiasm about the moves is tempered by the realization that all they\'ve done is resign 3 guys from their already 25th ranked defense and added two from division rivals whose units last season were even worse. The issues at safety , linebacker and tight end remain and now center joins the list as well. But reupping Shields, Raji and Neal and adding Peppers and Guion at least don\'t take the Pack backwards and will allow more opportunity and flexibility in the draft to meet other needs. How will Peppers at 34 work in the Packers\' defense? Having been an all pro 4-3 end for all his career coming to a 3-4. I hope we won\'t see a repeat of trying to convert an end to linebacker as was done with Aaron Kampman. Once again an aging Packers receiver goes for the money rather than the championship opportunity in the case of James Jones. Like Greg Jennings last year he chose to join a losing team with no quarterback so say adios to his post 30 career. I\'ve been puzzled that teams with quarterbacks and in need of receivers, like New England and Denver, have passed on both Jennings and Jones in free agency the past two years. Maybe says something about their late career declines.

on March 20th, 2014 at 06:38am

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