We expected the Green Bay Packers to take a pass on bringing back 37-year-old linebacker Julius Peppers and they did just that. Peppers signed with the team that originally drafted him on Friday, the Carolina Panthers.
It’s a homecoming in more ways than one. Peppers was also born in North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina.
Maybe he should put the sale of his Carolina home on hold.
Here are the numbers.
Peppers gave the Packers three good seasons after being released by the Chicago Bears. However, his final year in Green Bay offered diminishing returns.
Peppers had 23 tackles and 7.5 sacks in a part-time role. The sack total is nice, especially considering his snaps were down, but Peppers didn’t really deliver the type of game-changing plays the Packers needed. He certainly didn’t deliver them when they needed them.
Make no mistake. This is a guy at the end of the line.
He’ll be a Hall of Famer one day, but that doesn’t mean the Packers should have invested another season in him. Peppers had become disinterested — at best — in playing the run. Even though the Packers saved him for the playoffs, they didn’t get the payoff they needed. His best showing in the playoffs was against the Giants, when he had three tackles, a sack and knocked down two passes. After that, he was next to invisible.
What I would look for is the Packers to make a run at recently-released linebacker Connor Barwin to fill Peppers’ role. He’s seven years younger and probably hungry to prove he still has something in the tank.