Packers pickup former Bears star DE Julius Peppers
Pepper’s agent confirmed the move on his twitter account by posting photos of the player signing the Packers’ contract, a three-year deal worth up to $30 million, with $ 7.5 million guaranteed. Later that afternoon the team officially announced the move in a press release.
The former Chicago Bears defensive end wasted little time in finding a new team after being released by the Bears on Tuesday. Though, it may still be surprising to some Chicago fans that Peppers opted to sign with his former team’s divisional rivals. However, the 34-year-old insisted that the most important thing for him before calling quits on his NFL career is to win a championship.
“I haven’t won a championship. That’s where my focus is,” Peppers told the teams’ website. “I feel like the team is set up to make a run and I feel I can help get it there.”
Peppers went to the Super Bowl with the Panthers in 2003, but ended up losing to the New England Patriots. Now, Peppers joins a team that has been to the playoffs five consecutive seasons.
The 12-year veteran believes that he has a realistic shot of making a championship run with the Packers partly due to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“The teams that have the good quarterbacks are the teams that win. That obviously factored into some of my decision making,” Peppers said. “I’m looking forward to playing with Aaron. As much as I disliked chasing him around, I’m excited to join him.”
Although Peppers is coming off a season in which he record a sack total only in single digits the fourth time in his career, his 7.5 sacks were still a team high last season. Before that, Peppers had 22.5 sacks from 2011-12, and posted a total of 37.5 sacks while starting 64 games for the Bears over the last four season. Hence Peppers may not be far removed from posting quality pass rushing numbers in the future for the Packers as well.
Peppers amassed 119 sacks and was selected to the Pro-Bowl eight times during his 12-year in NFL.
However, the Bears were faced with the difficult decision of releasing him partially due to salary cap reasons. Peppers would have counted $18.183 million against their salary cap this season, so the Bears considered him a far too expensive option to keep on the roster with Lamarr Houston already coming to Chicago.
In Green Bay, Peppers will be reunited with Packers’ current defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, under whom he played for seven seasons in Carolina. Trgovac was Peppers’ defensive line coach for one season, right after he was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the 2002 draft. For the next six seasons (2003-08), Trgovac was Peppers’ defensive coordinator in Carolina.