Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, who has previously said that he is on the downside of his career, is set to count $18.183 million against the salary cap in 2014. With that cap figure, Peppers will likely need to restructure his deal or find himself released and on the open market.
There is simply no way Peppers can return on his existing salary that calls for the eight-time Pro Bowler to count $18,183,333 against the cap next season. If the Bears release Peppers, they would have to carry $4,183,333 in dead money in each of the next two years, but the move would open up tons of space in 2014 the team could use to target other players and fill existing needs. That’s not to say the Bears wouldn’t welcome Peppers back to the team, but not as his current salary structure.
There is a good chance that the Bears will begin rebuilding their defense this offseason, so there is a real chance that they could decide to go younger and leave Peppers on the outs.
Chicago will have plenty of time to discuss the Peppers situation leading up to free agency, so we will have to keep an eye on how everything plays out.