Oh My God, Julius Peppers Signed with the Packers!

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Julius Peppers

Julius Peppers

That is is not a typo, folks. The Green Bay Packers have actually gone and signed a free agent who didn’t already play for the team. He is defensive end Julius Peppers, who was released by the Chicago Bears earlier this week.

Peppers got a three-year deal worth $30 million that is believed to be heavily incentive-laden. His signing bonus comes in at $7.5 million and the first year of the contract is worth $8.5 million, which would give Peppers a relatively low salary cap number in 2013.

This is the first time the Packers have made a high-profile free agency move since they signed Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett back in 2006. Yes, it’s been eight years since Packers fans have been thrown a free agent bone in the offseason. Eight years of the front office jamming their heads up their asses when the free agency signing period rolled around. Eight years of the idiotic draft and develop mantra being tossed around Titletown like it was Dexter’s code.

So now the question is, who has replaced general manager Ted Thompson with this alien being?

We are frankly so overwhelmed with the fact the Packers have actually done something in the offseason for a change that we don’t even really care what it is. But here’s what it is anyway.

Let’s be perfectly honest. Peppers is a player in decline. He’s 34 and no one knows what he has left. The Packers signed him to a three-year deal and there’s no way he’ll still be playing in three years.

That being said, Peppers still had 46 tackles, 7.5 sacks and an interception last season. That’s 1.5 more sacks than Lamarr Houston, the guy the Bears signed to replace Peppers, had in 2013.

You shouldn’t be looking at Peppers as an every-down player. He’ll be a rotational player wherever he ends up playing and that’s the other thing.

Peppers has always played defensive end. He’s also always played in a 4-3. The Packers run a 3-4 and at 6-7, 287, Peppers may be a better fit for outside linebacker in Green Bay.

We suspect he’ll be utilized wherever he’s able to make the biggest impact, though. Unlike past years, the Packers actually seem committed to adapting their defense to their personnel rather than trying to make their personnel adapt to their defense.

A novel concept. One successful NFL teams have employed for decades…

The bottom line is, Julie Peppers should still be able to create havoc for opposing offenses, even at an advanced age.

By the way, the Packers have now essentially traded the Bears safety M.D. Jennings for Peppers. Hahahahahaha… the Bears… hahahahahaha…

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

60 Comments on "Oh My God, Julius Peppers Signed with the Packers!"

  1. TyKo Steamboat

    Luckily, I was sitting down when I realized this.

    Mixed feelings. That’s a ton of $cratch for a dude his age. I like the move.

    Pretty shrewd of Teddy T….haven’t had a dude this age since Woodson & that worked out pretty well. He brings veteran leadership.

    No middle Linebacker (Lamar Woodley) or safety. Yet, we grab an outside pass-rusher even with Clay Matthews, Nick Perry & Mike Neal on board.

    Well friends, read between the lines…The Green Bay Packers are switching back to the 4-3. Goodbye, sissy 3-4 (actually a 2-4) defense.

    • Savage57

      As soon as I saw news of this, my first thought was good move, good contract.

      Then, thinking about all the hand-wringing, nail chewing ‘fans’ that are never happy while second guessing every move, I had this thought bubble up.

      Imagine Ted as Rocky Balboa and Russ Ball as Adrian.

      Ted: Yo, Russ I gotta sign Julius Peppers. It’s what I am

      Russ: Before there were reasons for Free Agency I could understand but I don’t understand this. Even if you sign him, Woodson’s still gone. Why can’t you change your thinking? Everybody else does.

      Ted: Cause I’m a player! That’s how I’m made, Russ. That’s what you work with. We can’t change what we are.

      Russ: [Softly] Yes you can.

      Ted: We can’t change anything, Russ. All we can do is just go with what we are.

      Russ: You can’t go with what you are, you’ve read the papers, it’s suicide! You’ve seen him, you know how expensive he is!

      YOU CAN’T WIN!

  2. E. Wolf

    This is a mistake. The guy is old and in decline. TT needed to sign some people but not big names known for what they did in the past rather than their potential for the future. To think this money could have been used for some of those premium safeties that were on the market.

    • TyKo Steamboat

      Just a reminder of exactly how hard it is to get young free agents who are into city life, nice weather & hot girls to come play in a town like Green Bay Wisconsin…

        • 8BitEra

          In today’s NFL, every player is going to say they want to win championships, but not more than they want the almighty dollar. If they can get another $5M guaranteed somewhere else and live in a major metropolitan area with all the glitz and glamour that goes with that, younger players will take it 9 times out of 10. Unfortunately, that means a lot of times, when it comes to free agency, we’re going to be relegated to signing older FA’s that have made their money and want to actually get a ring before they retire.

          • TyKo Steamboat

            Agree with Wolf & 8Bit. I want Reggie White, Eugene Robinson, Sean Jones types…

            Bottom line is, teams like GB Packers & Buffalo Bills are always gonna need to pay FA’s big $ because after all, it is Green Bay or Buffalo. Think of being a 25 yo. black kid from California, Texas or Florida & seeing an offer sheet from the Packers or “Dolphins, Cowboys, Bucs, 49ers” (for example)

          • 8BitEra

            Like it or not, that’s precisely why paying our own guys is the best way to go. TT knows it’s hard to entice young guys that have never been to GB to play there. Year in and year out we see young FA’s use GB as nothing more than a bargaining chip to get a deal elsewhere. Just in the last few days, how many FA’s have been scheduled to visit GB, but never made it because they signed somewhere else before they even visited?

          • E. Wolf

            Well we have a built in way to weed out the “me” guys. That may be a good thing. I think what you are is saying is far less true since Reggie White. Ryan Pickett, Woodson are the sort of guys we want anyway, not the Ochocinco sort. Now that I think of it, Peppers may not be such a bad move because he knows he has only a few years left, and may be motivated to push our team over the top once again.
            I have been to Green Bay–I’d rather be there than many other places. I really do not see what distinguishes it from many other places (like Detroit, Cleveland Phoenix, Jacksonville, Buffalo), except that we actually win and that it is cold.

          • TyKo Steamboat

            Yea but when we signed Charles Woodson, he had no other offers on the table…& even he was quoted to saying on the Larry McErron show, “Wow. Green Bay, really? That’s all?””

          • E. Wolf

            That is true tyko, but there are players who reached the maturity level that Woodson quickly reached AFTER getting here.

          • TyKo Steamboat

            Well yea, after…

            But we’re talking about attracting young studs to play ball in GB Wisconsin.

          • E. Wolf

            Really, I thoguht people were lamenting that there were not enough veteran leaders….

    • TyKo Steamboat

      Earlier this offseason the Packers wanted to get more athletic, more multiple in their schemes & rush the passer more effectively. We assumed this meant also getting younger, but Peppers is another way to go too.

      Joining Clay Matthews, Nick Perry & Mike Neal at outside linebacker, Peppers will be part of a rotation of pass rushers. Limiting his snaps could increase his productivity.

  3. Big B

    At 34 years old, they’re going to switch him to outside linebacker? That’s Kampman 2.0- worked great.
    Would much rather have put that $ toward Byrd, a younger playmaker at a position of need, and one he has been playing. I had hoped Pack would fill holes in FA, but I don’t agree with this move, sad to say.

    • 8BitEra

      Comparing this Peppers deal to a potential deal for Byrd is apples and oranges. This is basically a one year prove-it deal and a roll of the dice on TT’s part. The deal calls for Peppers to get ONLY $7.5M guaranteed and $8.5M in total year one. That’s $2.5M in bonus money and a $6M base salary. It’s extremely cap-friendly and thus, not a bad deal.

      Signing Byrd to a contract would have meant committing a fairly large chunk of cap space for the next several years. There are inexpensive safeties to be had in the draft and the potential of sliding Hyde over there when Hayward comes back.

      Even at his age, Peppers had 7.5 sacks last season. That’s more than any Packer had last year. His addition will let Capers be more flexible with the front seven and give him the ability to play with, say, CM3 on one side and Peppers on the other. How do opposing teams respond to that kind of matchup? What if you line Peppers and CM3 up next to each other with Peppers at DE? The possibilities are kind of exciting.

      • Cheese

        He got 7.5 sacks at his natural position. That’s a lot of money to just be a rotational player at a position he’s never played before, assuming they’re putting him at linebacker. Let’s see how it goes.

        • TyKo Steamboat

          5 technique in the 3-4 (assuming we will still be running the 3-4

          But let’s be real here…the Packers want to show different looks on every defensive play. The more I think about this move, the more I like it.

        • 8BitEra

          I was in the same boat as TyKo when I first read about it early this morning. Even had a few “Wtf?” type text conversations with family up in the GB area. But, the more I mulled it over, the more I started to realize this makes for some potentially exciting scenarios.

          As for the move to OLB, I’m still not convinced he’ll play there exclusively. As TyKo mentions, I think he’ll get some looks at the 5 technique too. The very thought of stacking one side with JP at the 5 and CM3 at OLB is nothing if not intriguing. Or stack JP and Neal and let CM3 come in on the other side. So many choices…

        • Phatgzus

          John Abraham worked out damn well in that role for the Falcons, and Peppers is a better player than Abraham.

    • 8BitEra

      I don’t think that’s part of the plan as Peppers is more than likely just a rotational piece. I think it’s more likely it’s intended to let Capers play around with matchups on the outside and keep the guys on the outside fresh. It’s huge to have that kind of flexibility given that GB rushes the passer more than 80% of the time.

      Having Peppers and Matthews on opposite sides could create fits for opposing offenses as it forces them to decide if and which side they’ll double team.

    • 8BitEra

      I don’t think that’s part of the plan as Peppers is more than likely just a rotational piece. I think it’s more likely it’s intended to let Capers play around with matchups on the outside and keep the guys on the outside fresh. It’s huge to have that kind of flexibility given that GB rushes the passer more than 80% of the time.

      Having Peppers and Matthews on opposite sides could create fits for opposing offenses as it forces them to decide if and which side they’ll double team.

  4. E. Wolf

    I want to say again that I indict Capers. I believed in him to start and he would have beena good transition guy. But someone is behind these projects trying to convert players to something they are not.
    I am losing faith in the Polar Bear not because he cannot drive, but because he is listening to a defensive coordinator and staff that are not getting it done.

  5. Shawn Iltarion

    You are all drunk. Peppers at OLB?

    Peppers is a DE and will continue to be in our scheme.

    Think about it, besides his age, he is a prototype DE for the 3-4. He is tall, long, strong against the run, and can rush the passer.

    He is essentially a taller and better version of Cullen Jenkins.

    He CAN play all 3 downs for us. As a DE in the base, and as a pass rushing DL in the nickel. Because of his age, it is more likely we will rotate him with Daniels and Datone in the nickel.

    On passing downs, we can line Peppers up next to Matthews, opposite of Matthews, or move Peppers back to the outside and let Matthews spy the middle. In other words, our defensive front 7 just got much more problematic for OCs to plan for.

    The only questions I see are does Peppers still have the drive to do everything we will ask him to, does he still want to win a championship, and can he stay healthy?

    If the answers are Yes, then this is a great signing for the Packers. If it is No, then this is TT’s Joe Johnson, with less money wasted.

    • Phatgzus

      Agreed. Not worried about his drive, Peppers has always been a hard worker and the fact that he’s one of the best DE’s to ever play proves that in my mind. He has put up a lot of gaudy numbers across the board but he still doesn’t have a SB ring, just as Chuck didn’t. I think he’ll provide much of the same spirit of intensity and desire as well as production that Chuck brought, only from the D-line instead of the backfield.

  6. the real russ letlow

    i’m OK with this signing. best case it offers a good deal of defensive flexibility up front, with the benefit of increased pass rush. if he stinks up the joint, which I don’t think he will as he is still a good athlete, we say so long, nice knowing you. low risk $$$$ wise, could pay off rather nicely. Capers need to use him creatively. I’m sure intrigued as to how he will.

  7. Richard

    I don’t get it. Oh well, at least Kuhn can block the shit out of him in practice like he did week 17, assuming he comes back

  8. Phatgzus

    Possibly another TT classic move-$8M guaranteed for a future HoFer who still has some gas left in the tank and he’ll likely be a part-time player so it won’t be easy for him to earn those incentives (probably, obviously we still don’t know what they are) and if he does earn the bonus money it just means he’s dominating and he’s worth it anyway.

  9. Phatgzus

    Pretty funny that not one peep was mentioned of this in the media, even with all these reporters and their “insider” contacts.

  10. Phatgzus

    Interestingly, Peppers had more picks last year than our entire safety corps; he also has more career picks than Morgan Burnett. Maybe they’ll play him at D-end, maybe at backer, and maybe they’ll let him play some safety too. Could you imagine getting tackled by that guy moving with a head of steam? or jamming a WR/TE at the LOS?

  11. Phatgzus

    Hear that sound, folks? That’s the sound of Jay Quitler scheduling knee injuries for the next two Bares-Packers games.

  12. CB

    You know who is now the key to this front 7 taking a big next step?
    Datone Jones.
    Raji at his true position and in a prove it contract,,,i expect a lot from.
    Daniels’ arrow is only pointing up.
    Peppers will not be in his ultimate prime,,,but will still be a big force to reckon with.
    J Boyd on the come, J Worthy hopefully contributes…
    But most importantly is If the light switch goes on for Datone,,,wow, that’s a big step forward compared to last year.

  13. aValpo

    “Eight years of the front office jamming their heads up their asses when the free agency signing period rolled around”

    Sign everyone ever!

  14. Old Man At The Gym

    Capers, who’s known for his blitzing, 3-4 defensive scheme, coached the Jaguars defense in 1999 to lofty rankings from within a 4-3 alignment. It’s important to note Tony Brackens enjoyed his best season as a pro that year, playing end in a 4-3 scheme that incorporated a lot of 3-4 principles.

  15. Pio

    “Eight years of the idiotic draft and develop mantra being tossed around Titletown like it was Dexter’s code.”

    Have you not watched football in the last 8 years? G.B. is a perennial contender and has another trophy. Only two or three other franchises wouldn’t trade places with the Pack. But no, Ted is an idiot and should listen to all the pencil-necked bloggers that know exactly what to do, but only from behind a computer screen with nobody else around, of course.

  16. E. Wolf

    I have changed my mind on this. It seems it only counts 3.5 mil against the cap, and is structured in such a way that they cut him after the year if he is disappointing.
    I think this guy can offer the sort of veteran leadership we have been missing the past couple of years. And he has motivation: 1) to stick it to the Bears, and 2) win a ring.
    It is kind of a Vikings move to take a rival player like this, except I do not really see him as a Bear. He only played for the Bears for three years.
    We still need a safety, or two, and still have other holes to fill. And we still need Datone Jones and some of the other guys to step up.

    • Abe Frohman

      I recall hearing that they hated each other when JP was a free agent 3 years ago. Someone said we had virtually no chance of signing him (not that we would at that price anyway) because of that reason.

    • TyKo Steamboat

      I actually ran the scenario of Peppers on our team through my mind a few days ago & then thought “No way we’ll get him”

      Now I’m thinking…”Hmmm…Alex Mack is still unsigned but with a transition tag. No way we’ll get him…”

      • Phatgzus

        If that happens, there will be no choice but to accept your incredible powers of telekinetic reverse psychology, i.e. you’re a warlock. Here’s hoping you’re a warlock.

  17. lars

    Peppers will play the Elephant in GB and be there to help out when the inevitable injuries to Neal, CM3 and Perry occur.

    As for Mack, I’d love to see it but Thompson doesn’t much value the center position.

  18. Kristofer from Oshkosh

    Excellent signing. One thing no one has mentioned is the mentoring and skills peppers could pass on to guys like datone jones and others guys, and the great value that comes with that kind of veteran leadership. That alone could be worth his salary. Also, how many impact plays do you think peppers will have per game? I can tell you that it will be enough for him to earn his paychecks.

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