The soon-to-be 29 year old defensive end had a career year in 2008 (51 tackles, 5 forced fumbles and 14.5 sacks!). This was his fourth double-digit sack season in the past 5 years and fifth of his 7-year career. Although he is set to become a free agent this off-season, many assume that Peppers will remain a Panther in '09 after he is inevitably tagged by Carolina. Not so fast.
To place the franchise tag on Peppers, Carolina would be on the hook for $17 million in 2009. That's not just a lot of money, that's a heck of a lot of money to wrap up in one player under the cap. Carolina would have to be sure that they could get a long-term deal in place, probably making Peppers one of the highest paid defensive players in N.F.L. history (somewhere around $13 million a year). If not, they have some tough decisions to make. If Carolina can't reach a long-term deal with Peppers, they may opt to tag-and-trade him. The price would be steep, both in compensation to Carolina and to Peppers, but would it be worth a look? What kind of draft pick compensation would you be willing to give up for Peppers? How about money - what kind of financial investment would you make?