Dec 1, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
I think we’d all agree to chip in a couple of bucks to eat the roughly $5 million in Peppers’ dead money as a June 1 cut and bring in a better pass rusher. Even if Peppers has a resurgence, he’s not worth the $18 million that he’s slated to be paid. He’d been to get to 18 sacks to average $1 million per sack. I know, that’s pretty far fetched for a guy who had 11.5 sacks in his best season in Chicago and 38 sacks in 4 seasons with the Bears.
In the first couple of seasons, the argument was made that Peppers’ constant double and triple teams created opportunities for his teammates, but in recent seasons, he’s been single blocked too often and no one else is capitalizing with sacks elsewhere on the defensive line. The Bears defense needs a major overhaul and the most obvious place to start is with Peppers and his bloated contract.
Peppers apologists will suggest to restructure his contract, but that is short-sighted. Restructuring that behemoth of a deal is just kicking the can down the road. By cutting bait with a June 1 designation, the Bears will eat a healthy chunk of money, but they’ll also put themselves in position to make a few moves. Maybe Martellus Bennett can recruit his brother, world champ Michael Bennett to come to the Bears? Maybe the Bears could get Jared Allen or Justin Tuck at a deep discount. Oakland’s Lamarr Houston is an under the radar DE that could fit into the Bears’ 2014 plans. How about rolling the dice on another former Panther, Greg Hardy. He racked up 15 sacks last season after an 11 sack season the year before.
The point is, there are more productive options out there than the aging Peppers. Pass the hat around Soldier Field and take that ticket hike and get a proven pass rusher while paying off the bloated Peppers deal. I’m in for $2. How about you?