Free agent pass rusher Julius Peppers has signed with the Carolina Panthers. Terms of the contract have not yet been disclosed. The deal brings Peppers back to the franchise that drafted him in 2002.
Julius Peppers Signs With the Carolina Panthers
Peppers 37, just wrapped up a three-year, $26 million contract with the Green Bay Packers and is looking forward to his 16th season in the NFL after rumors that veteran pass-rusher considered retirement. During the 2016 season, Peppers recorded 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, as well as a fumble recovery in a remarkable season in which the Packers made it to the NFC Championship game.
In his three years in Green Bay, the nine-time Pro Bowler never missed a game and played in two NFC Championship games, while totaling 25 of his 143.5 career sacks.
Julius Peppers Signs
Peppers was drafted second overall by the Carolina Panthers out of the University of North Carolina in the 2002 NFL Draft. The former Tar Heels standout and All-American would go on to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002 by recording 28 tackles, 12 sacks, five forced fumbles, and one interception.
In Peppers second season, the Panthers were able to reach Super Bowl XXXVIII due in large part to their defensive line. The line included players Brentson Buckner, Kris Jenkins, Mike Rucker and Julius Peppers. Despite the havoc they caused together in 2003, Peppers was the clear standout, constantly fighting off double teams due to the attention he required. Even though the Panthers would lose the Super Bowl to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 32-29, Peppers had established himself as a one-man wrecking crew. He finished 2003 with 37 tackles, 7 sacks, and three forced fumbles.
In 2010, the Panthers decided not to use the franchise tag on Peppers, despite being one of the premier pass-rushers in the league, making him an unrestricted free agent. Over his eighth years with the Panthers, Peppers was a two-time All-Pro and was selected to five Pro Bowls, recording 309 tackles, 81 sacks, and 30 forced fumbles.
Peppers would agree to a six-year deal with the Chicago Bears in 2010 for $91.5 million, with $42 million guaranteed. The All-Pro would only spend four seasons in Chicago before being released after the 2013 season, but he would leave his mark. The future Hall of Famer would make three consecutive Pro Bowls (fifth straight overall), while recording 139 tackles, 37.5 sacks, and ten forced fumbles.