Jared Allen Vs. Julius PeppersJanuary 4th, 2014
Joe wouldn’t bet a nickel that Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier are excited to feature Adrian Clayborn, Da’Quan Bowers, Daniel Te’-O Nesheim, Will Gholston and Steven Means as their edge rushers.
Looking for change in 2014?
Look no further than starting right defensive end.
Lovie’s 17th-ranked Bears defense in 2009 needed an upgrade. Leading into the 2010 offseason, the Bears opened the vault for Julius Peppers, six years and $84 million, with $42 million guaranteed. And it paid off. The defense bounced back, Peppers was an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler in 2010, when the Bears lost a heartbreaker in the NFC title game.
Peppers hasn’t missed a game with the Bears, but his production fell off when Lovie left last season. Current word out of Chicago speculates that Peppers will be cut because the Bears won’t want to pay him the $14 million he’s due in 2014?
Joe’s not endorsing a Bucs move for Peppers, but the reality is that head coaches seek out their former players, especially if they’re still productive. Lovie might pounce if he can bring in Peppers at a decent price. Lovie’s defense needs a four-man rush to be successful; it isn’t the Greg Schiano blitz party.
Then there’s Vikings icon Jared Allen, who’s about to be a free agent and played for new Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in Minnesota for years. He managed 11 1/2 sacks this season in a what appeared to be a down year for him.
What are the odds one of these guys land in pewter and red? Joe would bet there’s a better chance of that than Clayborn lining up as the opening day starter.
Panthers young beast Greg Hardy also lurks as a likely free man. There’s also some versatile beast named Bennett in Seattle who likely will be on the market. The stars are not aligning for Adrian Clayborn as a 2014 starter.