Dec 1, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Julius Peppers was released by the Chicago Bears earlier this week after the team was unable to find any takers for his $18 million dollar salary cap hit for this season, but he is still one of the most physically gifted and productive players on the free agent market.
With a glut of defensive ends initially on the market it appeared it may take a day or two for the dust to settle before Peppers found a new home, but the biggest question for Peppers moving forward is if his releasing will be a source of motivation for him.
One NFL front-office man tells Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report, “I don’t think Peppers played well at all last year,” the long-time evaluator said. “He took plays off. He looked like a fat cat. I saw indifference. But he is a special player. He can do it all.”
Peppers has been accused of taking plays off during his career dating back to his days with the Carolina Panthers, but at 34 still has some gas left in the tank. He may find the market unwilling to give him anything more than a one or two year deal.
If he lands in an environment where he doesn’t have to be the lead dog on the defensive line and play for a contender, that should serve as enough motivation for Peppers to finish his career on top.