Happy Birthday, Julius Peppers

January 18th, 2014

Joe realizes stud-edge-rusher-hungry Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier could be satisfied going into 2014 with Adrian Clayborn as their lead dog at right defensive end. But Joe surely wouldn’t bet a nickel on that happening.

These guys want a beast who will command double-teams, strike fear into opponents, adeptly play off their star defensive tackle, and register double-digit sacks.

Will Lovie make a move in free agency or gamble in the draft?

Or both?

Remember, Lovie is the same guy who huddled with his former general manager, and trusted defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, and decided it was worth trading a second-round pick to the Bucs for underachieving Gaines Adams five games into the 2009 season.

It was a terribly foolish play by the Bears, but that’s how desperate Lovie is to have his edge rusher, one that can get to the QB without stunts and blitzes.

And that brings Joe to Julius Peppers, who turns 34 today. After Adams flopped in Chicago during the ’09 season, Lovie and the Bears broke the bank for then-free-agent Peppers.

This season, Peppers’ performance dropped off along with the rest of the Bears defense after Lovie’s departure, and now word out of Chicago is the team will cut him before they pay him the $14 million he’s due next season.

Chicago Tribune Bears beat writer Brad Biggs, however, wrote yesterday that Peppers has plenty left to offer.

I don’t see how the Bears can justify paying a 34-year-old Peppers (he turns 34 Saturday) $14 million in 2014. But at the same, he’s still got value, and I can tell you that opposing coaches remain very concerned about Peppers when they prepare to face the Bears. He was the only player that worried teams up front after injuries swept through the defense. The question is can the Bears come up with an economical solution that works for them and the player? I don’t know if that is what general manager Phil Emery wants to do. And I have no idea if Peppers is open to a pay reduction. He might say no thanks and prefer a fresh start elsewhere. The Bears might not approach him for a pay cut for fear that they’ll get reduced effort in return.

Joe’s pretty confident Peppers will be available soon, and everything Joe’s read out of Chicago says Peppers is a Lovie kind of guy.

Joe liked the idea of the Bucs landing John Abraham last offseason. He was 35, very versatile, and Joe heard Abraham go on a passionate rant on SiriusNFL Radio about year ago, talking about how much he wanted to get into the Hall of Fame. Abraham’s subsequent 11 1/2-sack, Pro Bowl season in Arizona likely punched his ticket to Canton.

Peppers is in a somewhat similar boat. He likely needs one more big season to land into the Hall conversation. Does that motivate him?

Of course, Jared Allen and others will be available.

Joe has no idea what the Bucs will do, but there will be a furious infusion of pass-rushing talent. Joe would wager on that.



51 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Julius Peppers”

  1. Trox Says:

    It is pretty apparent they are going to spend money at DE. There should be plenty of options for a 4-3 DE available in free agency, I would assume Peppers or Allen would be the target.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Surely there’s a younger, more affordable option to Peppers. Unless we can get him for a bargain (under $10mil)…we should go elsewhere….

  3. Walter Says:

    I would prefer Peppers over Allen, but Allen is 3 years younger.

  4. Walter Says:

    Or we could break the bank for Greg Hardy and have our RDE spot solidified for the next 8-10 years.

  5. Mumbles Says:


    Peppers is 2 years older as Allen will be 32 in April.

  6. Yar Says:

    Clowney is the answer. Go get him Bucs.

  7. Mumbles Says:

    I’m not to proud to beg! I would send the plane for Bennett and ask for forgiveness, then back it up with a nice long-term contract with guaranteed money. I’ll bet he can be had for 7 to 8mil. Go pay the man!

  8. Buc1987 Says:

    LOL Mumbles and they can always blame it on Schiano just like everything else.

  9. SAMCRO Says:

    yeah, let’s throw millions at Peppers, another declining star on the downside of his career. Seems to always be the Buc’s modus operandi. Lovie needs to stay away from retreads and find younger men that he can groom, and last several years, rather than looking for some miracle one-year stop-gap.

  10. stanglassman Says:

    Read what Walter wrote before you try to correct him

  11. Mike Says:

    I’m liking the Hardy talk. But he wants to get paid! Like really paid! So to have options like Peppers and Allen is a good thing

  12. tmaxcon Says:

    mumbles although I like Bennett he is not in the same league has Peppers or Allen. Teams do not FEAR Bennett. Bennett is an outstanding piece to a loaded D-line in Seattle but he is not a stand alone star that puts fear into offensive coordinators. I’d prefer to go get Allen, Peppers or Hardy. I agree that Clowney has the potential to put fear in o coordinators that being said so have a lot of the early round busts we and other teams have picked that did not work out. I my opinion we need a stop gap, proven DE who can instantly give the Bucs D credibility while developing. I like Gholston with real coaching and a solid veteran mentor I believe he has a tremendous upside.

  13. Rob Says:

    Let’s not forget about Michael Bennett. He only signed a one year deal with Seattle and is about 4 years younger than Allen. With a new coaching staff he could potentially return. I hated to see him go. Especially for so cheap and with all the cap space we had.

  14. Lev Says:

    Go for both and cut Bowers and Means

  15. bigpoppabuc Says:

    Damn, we have been searching for an edge rusher for like ten years. I remember being so excited when we got Bowers. Or when I thought “Stylze” was gonna turn the corner and become great. Bennett is an option, but like tmaxcon said, not elite.

    I’ll take Peppers, Allen AND Clowney….can never have enough pressure…especially in this division.

  16. RastaMon Says:

    Clowney is a Quitter….ie..Keith McCants…Gaines Adams..Eric Curry….Clowney is a Quitter

  17. Eric Says:

    I always like a one year stop gap measure.

    At least you stop the gap unlike the last five years.

  18. mark2001 Says:

    Do you think Peppers would like to play the Panthers twice a year, everything else being equal?

  19. Lev Says:

    Bring in Peppers, Bennett, and Allen

  20. Yar Says:

    Clowney played last year in college only because the NFL wouldn’t let him in the draft. He saw Lattimore ruin his career by injuries and didn’t want to do the same. A lot of people were saying last year Clowney should sit out the year and wait for this year to move to the NFL but he played and protected himself for his future, can you blame him? Lovie and Frasier will be able to handle him and make him a HOF DE as he is the perfect fit for their defensive line sceme. As for Texans taking him he would be a waste in a 3-4.

  21. stanglassman Says:

    The only Hardy talk that will be going on in Tampa is Nickerson. No way he leaves Carolina. Not with that Def budding like that you don’t leave your boys. Golson did it but SF had that position capped like the Tampa 2 does with SAM backer.

  22. Cmurda Says:

    I see Clayborn as part of the plan but not our fierce edge rusher who will play the majority of snaps at end. So, I agree with Joe that there ill be at least one major splash. I expect that splash to be via free agency as opposed to draft. Unless of course Clowney falls to us or we trade up for him. Both of which unfortunately I doubt. Peppers makes sense with his connection to Lovie. However, the better move is Jared Allen. I won’t waste space posting stats but look them up. Jared is clearly the superior talent. There is truth to the statement of opposing offenses planning for Julius Peppers but with Allen entire gameplans have to be molded to combat Allen. Jared Allen is one of the nastiest, most disruptive forces I have ever seen. If Minnesota doesn’t step t the plate, Allen could anchor us for 3-5 years. I dont see us getting the production or longevity from Peppers. The moral of this story is freaking get beastly Jared Allen.

  23. Vern4499 Says:


    So it’s ok that he didn’t give his all because he wanted the money? So next year when he has the money what makes you think he will give his all? I think the kid is ridiculously talented. I just don’t know if I want a guy who doesn’t give 100% all the time. No matter the reason.

  24. Yar Says:

    No, he just didn’t want to ruin a HOF career playing for nothing. Why risk a career ending injury, he had nothing more to prove in college. He won’t get huge money until his second contract anyway so he should play hard in order to get that. Lovie and Frasier will be able to get the most from him.

  25. Mike Says:

    Carolina is having cap issues. Just the other day their GM said said every team lets great players grow. Read up before you say no way Hardy leaves Carolina. Just sayin

  26. Mike Says:


  27. Jordan Says:

    Greg Hardy isn’t hitting FA this year, he will be franchised by the Panthers if they cannot come up with the right contract. The Bucs management should learn from the Rays and go after players on the cheap, coming off of a down year.

  28. Mike Says:

    You do realize they can’t afford to Fran tag him. They were left in cap hell b4 their new gm

  29. Mike Says:

    I’m not saying sign Hardy ASAP. Just saying the Panthers are having cap issues and need to resign stevek players. He will probably hit FA

  30. Grudenite Says:

    IF hardy is not available I would like to see the Bucs restructure some contracts for more cap room and sign both Peppers and Allen. 3rd and longs with these two on the field at the same time….

  31. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Here’s what I would do. Trade this years 1st, 2nd, and 4th to get the #2 pick and take Clowney. Toss in Mike James if needed (Rainey is a free agent).

    In free agency, sign Mark Sanchez as backup (he will be released) and have he and Glennon compete.

    Sanchez bombed in NY, but it could be the coach there. It’s worth seeing if a QB who got deep into the playoffs twice can turn things around under a better coach.

    Jets just resigned their coach, so I’m sure Sanchez is begging to be released.

    Between Sanchez and Glennon, we could find a decent QB. If not, we have not traded away our first rounder for next year, so we can use that if needed.

    Of course, I’m talking out my rear quarters.

  32. Grudenite Says:

    The Panthers have 21 free agents, nine of which were year-end starters, according to OvertheCap.com, but Spotrac (subscription required) projects over $12.5 million in cap space. That is enough to return the important free agents, like DE Greg Hardy, and add that premium wideout to work with Newton as Steve Smith tails off at the end of his career.
    On this same website it had the Saints listed third…..as WORST cap situation. Atlanta is an absolute mess. Liking our chances next year.

  33. MTM Says:

    Peppers has value at the right price. Still need to draft DE also.

  34. Grudenite Says:


  35. ander Says:

    just send a plane bennett and tell him that we had a stubborn coach last year, i swear i cant believe dominick and schiano let bennett go its ashame and sadly embarrassing.

  36. ander Says:

    @buccaneers bronzai

    i rather have vick or schaub over sanchez if youre going to bring a veteran qb to compete. just my opinion

  37. Harry Says:

    Who would you prefer? Allen or Peppers? I lean towards Allen as he is younger and has done more in recent years.

    I am guessing we could get one of the for about less than $8M since the biggest FA DE last year was Chris Avril and he signed for 2yrs – $15M

  38. Cody Says:

    Hardy will most likely be franchised…costing anyone who wants him a 1st round pick to trade for him as well as a big contract…The sad thing about Hardy we could have drafted him in the 6 round but elected to draft punter brent bowen instead…Mind you, the punter didnt even make the team…Dominic was pretty good when it can to contracts but as far as drafts are concerned he was below average…

  39. Cody Says:

    As for Free Agents…I do like Josh McCown and Julian Edleman….

  40. buchead407 Says:

    Josh mccown doesnt kno if he wants to play and saying mark Sanchez is beyond a joke I don’t want Sanchez as our waterboy

  41. PRBucFan Says:

    The Panthers will make room for Hardy, and Hardy will likely take a little less from them just to stay a Panther as he’s stated he wants to remain there.

  42. GenocideD Says:

    We need a stop gap veteran DE starting on the right side THIS year, period. We can’t afford to draft that position and take a few years to develop b/c of the age of Revis and Goldson. Neither of them will be as good as they are now in three years. So then we’ll be hearing about not getting stop gap Safety or CB help. There’s a place for the retreads is all I’m saying.

  43. NewTampaChris Says:

    As long as we don’t draft any DEs from Clemson, I’m good.

  44. Espo Says:

    Get Hardy and either Allen or Peppers

  45. Capt. Tim Says:

    Did some poor Zombie say sign Sanchez?
    Must be because of that cute lil girlie hair now he wears everywhere now.
    Can’t be because of his ” skills” at QB
    He’s the only guy in the league, with less skills and more drama- than Josh “snowstorm” Freeman
    Never thought I’d see a post THAT far out to lunch.
    Yeah, Mark” The Princess”
    That’d be just perfect!

  46. Capt. Tim Says:

    Peppers or Allen would immediately improve our pass rush.
    So, of course, I’m all for it.

  47. unbelievable Says:

    There is no chance in Hell that Sanchez comes to Tampa

  48. teacherman777 Says:

    I called it first.

    Peppers AND Allen

    Bring the two best DE’s from the NFC North down south.

    2 legends? On the same line?

    With youngins like Clayborne, Bowers and Golston rotating to keep them fresh through a 16 game season?

    Sounds SperBowlish to me.

  49. Thomas Says:

    As a bears fan as well as a Bucs fan, peppers has nothing left in the tank. Get Allen if you must. Peppers was ineffective the majority of the year. he was knicked up a bit early on, but that’s no excuse.

    He will NOT be worth the exorbitant fee he will be asking for. If they can get him on the cheap and then bring Allen in as well- I say go for it.

  50. MadMax Says:

    Clowney and heat dont mix well….please dont trade up for him… (now if he falls to us, so be it)

  51. Rob Says:

    I’d go after Allen first. Not too many 34 DE’s in the league who scare anyone. That said, if the price is right – go after both, the Bucs need plenty of help at DE.