Ted Thompson finally signed another team’s player. And it’s a head-scratcher. Don’t get me wrong, signing Julius Peppers was a great move — six years ago. Regardless, the Packers made a big investment; what could this mean?
Peppers could earn an average of ten million a year on his three year deal — reportedly; a great deal of the contract is incentive-based, so essentially Peppers will only be paid what his production says he’s worth. This high-upside contract could be a great move for the Packers.
Then again, Peppers is underweight for the scheme, he’s 34 years old, he’s been on the decline for two years, and he’s never even played in a 3-4 defense. This seems more like a desperation move than anything; basically all this move guarantees is $8.5 million dollars less in cap space. This move doesn’t fit Ted Thompson’s ‘value’ scheme at all. I thought his whole deal was not to overpay declining players? If he was willing to do that we never should have seen Charles Woodson — who undoubtedly would have been more productive at a position at which we desperately needed help — get away. So why Peppers?
This could mean the Packers use Peppers as a pass-rush specialist; maybe limiting his snaps will maximize his potential impact. This could also mean that Capers is getting more creative in their defensive packages; possibly incorporating some 4-3 fronts or even using Peppers as a blitzing outside linebacker – perhaps limiting snaps for Peppers and Nick Perry could maximize the potential of both players.
Regardless of how Peppers is used or how statistically impactful his addition is, one thing is certain: this is a great opportunity for the young Packers defensive linemen. If nothing else, the likes of Datone Jones, Josh Boyd and Mike Daniels will get an opportunity to learn about pass rushing from one of the best.
On an otherwise quiet day for the Packers there was news that James Starks will be visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend. This, combined with the signing of Ben Tate in Cleveland, makes it appear as though there is no opportunity for James Starks to win a starting job anywhere — which was unlikely to begin with. Now Starks will have to choose where he wants to be a number two and Ted Thompson will have to decide how much faith he has in DuJaun Harris and Johnathan Franklin.