March 3, 2010

Bears, Redskins Interested in Peppers

I haven't really mentioned much about superstar DE Julius Peppers. I didn't think the Redskins would pursue him.

However, I should have known better. He's the best name on the market and that makes him someone the Redskins would want.

The rumors are flying as we approach the start of free agency. Peppers will hit the market at 12:01 am on Friday and his name has been linked primarily to the Redskins and Bears.

Peppers is 30 years old, but he still possesses much of the speed and athleticism that made him a star in Carolina with the Panthers. He is coming off a 10.5 sack season in which he also had a pair of interceptions and forced five fumbles.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith had nothing but praise for Peppers. "He has been an outstanding player for a number of years," he said. "He's a guy you always have to be aware of where he is aligned and you always have to scheme to protect your quarterback."

In eight seasons Peppers has notched 81 sacks and made the NFL's All-Decade team for the 2000s. He is expected to command up to $15 million per year, making him a tough purchase for any NFL team.

However, the Redskins have the league's deepest pockets and the most star-struck owner. Dan Snyder isn't afraid to shell out dollars for a big name, and if the rumors are correct, then nothing has changed since he hired Mike Shanahan.

The prospect of signing Peppers might excite people, but there are concerns. Peppers doesn't always give 100 percent on the field, and a big payday could backfire and leave a team with an underachieving, aging veteran.

Peppers has had some down seasons. In 2007, he had just 2.5 sacks something that many consider to be a major concern. Peppers has rebounded well with two strong seasons, but 2007 is something that will raise questions about his work ethic.

Still a player of Peppers athleticism will leave teams enamored. There will reportedly be a number of teams vying for his services with Washington and Chicago being the front-runners.

Peppers would be an interesting acquisition for the Redskins. It is still up in the air as to what the Redskins will actually be doing defensively. They have been considering a switch to a 3-4 defense, and they will most likely use it primarily.

Peppers has stated that he would love to play in a 3-4. He has the abilities to play in any scheme at linebacker or defensive end. The Redskins would love that versatility as Peppers could play the rush end or drop back in coverage.

The only red flag is that Washington has done this before. They have signed a marquee names in the past only to see them flop and do nothing to help the team move forward.

Peppers looks like a great move on paper, but it's a move that will have to involve plenty of thought. This would be the first big move by the new front office, and as such it will be heavily scrutinized.

The absence of the salary cap makes this a safer move money-wise, but Peppers' impact will have to be worth every penny to validate the signing.

Will the Redskins take a chance?

Stay tuned.

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