It’s now that time of year, the portion of the offseason where the Carolina Panthers address what to do with DE Julius Peppers.
Peppers, who played under the franchise tag in 2009 for a base salary of $16.683 million, could potentially become a free agent again. The Panthers, who are free to negotiate with Peppers now, must decide whether to try to work out a long-term deal or use the franchise tag on him again, which would cost them a 20 percent pay raise with a one-year tender — in the neighborhood of $20.1 million.
The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that the ball is in the Panthers’ court. Peppers’ agent, Carl Carey, said they are waiting for the Panthers to decide how they will handle the impending free agency before commenting, and that the five-time Pro Bowler has no existing issues with the team.
“I think it’s appropriate that we reserve our comments until after the Panthers’ organization has publicly announced their intentions regarding Julius’ impending free agency,” Carey said. “Julius feels good about being selected to his fifth Pro Bowl and is focusing on representing the Carolina Panthers in Miami.”
As the report points out, it’s a complicated matter for the Panthers. And Peppers is waiting for them to make the first move.
If Carolina wanted to trade Peppers, they’d have to put the franchise tag on him, but that would obligate them to the $20.1 million tender offer if he signed it and if no trade could be worked out. As was evident last year, Peppers being tagged with such a large tender number could prevent other teams from wanting to make a trade because they’d not only have to meet his contractual demands, but also would have to compensate the Panther with draft picks, players, etc.