Chicago Bears: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

Steve McMichael, Chicago Bears. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Steve McMichael, Chicago Bears. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears
Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

. DE. (2010-13). Julius Peppers. 2. player. 57

One of the most freakishly athletic defensive linemen in recent memory, Julius Peppers spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Carolina Panthers. The final few seasons of his first tenure with Carolina was marred with trade rumors and contract disputes.

However, he finally got his shot at free agency in 2010 when the Panthers elected not to use the franchise tag on him following his fifth Pro Bowl nod.

That led to the Bears coming in and giving Peppers a six-year deal worth $42 million guaranteed, good for a total of $91.5 million. In his first game, he paid dividends, causing a fumble on a sack of Matthew Stafford, while also knocking the Detroit quarterback out of the game.

He spent the next four seasons in Chicago playing dominant football for the Bears. He was named to three Pro Bowls in those four seasons and had 22.5 sacks between 2011 and 2012. This was his best stretch of football outside of Carolina. Despite him still playing at a high level, the Bears tried to trade Peppers after the 2013 season, but ended up just releasing him.

From there, he joined the Green Bay Packers where he continued to play at a high level. Peppers had 25 sacks in three seasons for the Packers, which proved the Bears moved on too early.

The talented pass rusher then returned to Carolina. At age-37, Peppers recorded 11 sacks in 2017. He played one final season in 2018 and had five more sacks, giving him 159.5 for his impressive career. Peppers is a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His time in Chicago is a huge reason he will have a bust in Canton within the next few years.