Ted Thompson is known for not making splashes in the free agent market. Landing Julius Peppers is not a splash per se, but more of a light ripple. Did Thompson watch a majority of Chicago’s games last season? Two of them at least. Did he miss Peppers’ final play when John Kuhn blocked him from getting to Aaron Rodgers? Resulting in, well… I’m not going to even mention it. The 34 year old just is not the same as he used to be, it took him the first eight games of the season just to record two sacks. He did play some of his best games against the Packers last year and late in the season you could tell the veteran wanted a taste of the playoffs, but it was not enough. A liability in run defense, teams elected to run at him, negating his great vision and his athleticism to slide through traffic. The man did have 7 sacks, I’ll give him that. But the motor wasn’t there, and once the motor is gone the production drops. Green Bay is in major need of a pass rush and after rumors of them trying to land a deal with Justin Tuck, who ended up signing with Oakland, early Saturday morning it was reported the Pack had landed a deal with Peppers. Listed as three-years for 30 million and 7.5 million guaranteed, Peppers will make around 8.5 million the first year of the deal. I have a feeling he will not even see the second or third years of the contract, but that is how the NFL works today.
Does he make them better? Slightly, and for that I guess it makes sense. Will the Packers have to scheme up ways to use him efficiently in their base 3-4 defense? Yes. With young Datone Jones still in the works, defensive coordinator Dom Capers will have to find a way to get both guys on the field. The move might take some pressure off outside line backer Clay Matthews, or at least make teams move a tight end or running back to Julius’s side for protection. I just think 8.5 million for around 5 sacks is not worth it. I do not buy the notion that this is similar in anyway to the signing of Charles Woodson in 2009, Woodson was much younger and still had a lot of football left in him. I also do not buy the idea Chicago is worried about this. Why should they? The Bears tackles, Jermon Bushrod and Jordan Mills practiced against Peppers everyday last year, if anyone knows his strengths and weaknesses it is those two. At most this adds even more excitement to the greatest rivalry in football, even sports in my opinion. I know seeing Peppers in green and yellow will make my stomach turn. He was a class act in Chicago, and a hardworking football player that you could not help but have respect for. I wish him luck in Green Bay.
More of a Bears note, Charles “Peanut” Tillman returns to Chicago on a one year deal worth 3.5 million. Amid rampant rumors of Tillman leaving the Bears for Lovie Smith and Tampa Bay, Tillman left the Buccaneers with no contract in hand. A relief to many Bears fans. GM Phil Emery on the signing, “Charles is one of the NFL’s great players and a true leader on and off the field and we’re happy he will be staying in Chicago. Charles has a special connection to the people and community across Chicago and we’re excited for that to continue.”
Tillman is my favorite Chicago Bear of this era, and I am thrilled he will get to retire a Bear, something I wish we could have seen out of Brian Urlacher and Devin Hester. Tillman is still the best in the league at forcing turnovers, can still shut down the likes of Calvin Johnson and AJ Green, and provides great leadership in the locker room. Thank you Phil Emery for getting this deal done. This off-season has already been exciting, and the draft is still over a month away! Stay tuned for more.