Julius Peppers has had a remarkable week. On Tuesday, the inevitable happened. Peppers was released so the Bears could have cap relief to go after younger players to help the defense. That was expected. On Saturday, he found a new home in, of all places, Green Bay. That was NOT expected.
Peppers signed a 3-year contract, worth up to $30 million, with $7.5 million guaranteed.
Bears’ fans spent the last four seasons cheering their hearts out for Peppers. He created a lot of highlights while in Chicago, amassing 37.5 sacks during his time with the team.
Fans looked forward to see how Peppers would wreak havoc on opposing teams. Now they will see him two times a year, and hope he does nothing.
The Bears cannot be blamed for letting Julius Peppers go. He was going to count $18.183 million against the salary, and with all the help needed on defense, the cut was one that needed to be made.
Most fans would still love Peppers had he signed with any other team but the hated Packers. After the deal was announced, Bears fans commenced to burn Peppers’ #90 jersey.
I would say that burning a player’s jersey just because he signed with a rival is not, let’s say, RATIONAL, but we are talking about fans (short for fanatics), and we are talking about the most bitter rivalry in all of sports, so it was expected.
The move is reminiscent of a similar move made by former Bears great Steve McMichael. McMichael owned the franchise record for most games played, and had 92 sacks.
The Bears would not keep McMichael for his $1 million (!) salary, and offered him $300, 000. He rejected it, then thumbed his nose at the team and signed with the Packers for $450,000.
Here’s to hoping that the Packers defense collapses this season. And if that happens to take down Peppers, then so be it. Otherwise, I wish Julius Peppers well.