The Julius Peppers era started off with a bang and ends with a whimper. Or a thud. Depending on how you view the ton of dead money the Bears are going to have to eat now that they’re released the veteran defensive end. Here’s Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery’s statement on the termination of Peppers’ contract:
“We appreciate Julius’ contributions to the Bears over the last four years,” General Manager Phil Emery said. “He was a leader on our defense starting every game since coming to Chicago. His accomplishments over his NFL career place him among the best defensive ends over the past 20 years. The Chicagoland community has benefited greatly from his quiet generosity. We wish him the best.”
It’s ironic that the Bears are terminating Peppers’ contract on Free Agent signing day. This day in 2010 was when the Bears brought Peppers to the team in what they believed was the final piece to a Super Bowl. Sadly, the move didn’t pan out. While Peppers was effective for most of his four seasons with the Bears, he never reached the elite level the Bears expected he’d achieve when they inked him to a massive $90 million contract that was celebrated throughout Chicago.
Just remember Bears fans, today’s joy for Lamarr Houston or Ryan Mundy could be a day of agony in a few years if the new free agent crop doesn’t pan out. They’ll be out on the streets just like Peppers is. Who knows, maybe he’ll end up in Tampa. It seems to be where a lot of Bears might be heading (McCown, Tillman and Devin Hester are all rumored to be drawing interest for Lovie Smith and the Bucs).
Best of luck to Peppers. No hard feelings, though I’m glad this is behind us and we can look ahead.