Julius Peppers wants out; the Falcons shouldn’t touch him

See this? Another Julius Peppers non-sack. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

See this? Pictorial evidence of a Julius Peppers non-sack. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

News out of Charlotte today is that Julius Peppers says he doesn’t want to play for the Carolina Panthers because he has been ignored this offseason. (Peppers gave a radio interview, and his answer to one question prompted the usually straight-down-the-middle Associated Press to describe it as “rambling.”) Speculation has already suggested that Flowery Branch could/should be Peppers’ next place of employment. I have one word for this:

The word is “no.”

The Falcons need a pass rusher. Peppers rushes the passer — sometimes. He had 2 1/2 sacks in 2007. He had 14 1/2 in 2008. He had 10 1/2 last season in what was a contract year. Of those 10 1/2, six came against Washington, Buffalo and Tampa Bay. He had no sacks in four games against New Orleans and Atlanta.

There are times when you watch the Panthers and you think Peppers is Deacon Jones. Other times you think he has come down with the deacon blues. (Steely Dan reference.) Put simply, he doesn’t seem to play hard all the time. And the one thing the Falcons want from all their players — and the chief criterion regarding all future acquisitions, be they free agents or draftees — is this: Do they play hard every single down?

The Falcons would be better served sticking with John Abraham, who’s coming off an uninspiring season but who’s facing a contract year himself, and trying to find a pass rusher in the draft. Peppers is going to want the moon and the stars for a new contract — he made $16.7 million last season — and he’s not worth half that. He’s a good player who sometimes does great things but who didn’t exactly lift the Panthers, who had to win their final three games to reach .500, to great heights.

And he’s a whiner. He tried to leave after last season but the Panthers stuck him with the “franchise player” tag. He lobbied to oust defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac, and Trgovac indeed left. Now he’s saying the Panthers aren’t paying enough attention to him. From the radio interview: “How can you say you want to be somewhere when you’re not really sure if they want you there because they’re not even talking to you?”

Should the Falcons pursue Peppers?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The two words most apt to chill any conversation with the Falcons’ new brass are these: DeAngelo Hall. Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith want no prima donnas in their organization, and Peppers has those tendencies. The good plays he’d make wouldn’t be worth the trouble of coddling his ego. Besides that, he’s 30. How many pass rushers stay good at age 32, 33, 34? (Abraham is 31, you should know.)

And it’s not as if the Falcons have to do anything rash. From Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com, assessing the Saints’ chances to repeat as Super Bowl champs:

“The Falcons have a quarterback in Matt Ryan and big-time targets in Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. They remind me a bit of the 2008 Saints — all offense and not enough defense. You can bet that the Falcons are going to work to improve that defense in 2010. If the Falcons can improve half as much on defense as this season’s Saints, anything becomes possible.”

The belief here is that Dimitroff can find enough defensive aid in this draft and perhaps free agency — and don’t forget the return of Peria Jerry and William Moore, neither of whom did much of anything as rookies due to injury — to lift the 2010 Falcons to the postseason. The belief here is that Peppers shouldn’t be needed or wanted in Flowery Branch. The MeAngelo days are done, thank goodness.

214 comments Add your comment

A.J.

February 9th, 2010
2:51 pm

First on two different columns in the same day has to be a record

Denver Bird

February 9th, 2010
2:56 pm

Do they call Alabama the Crimson Tide?

your turn.

GIVE ME A BREAK

February 9th, 2010
2:56 pm

Please, no more WHINERS.

Bob

February 9th, 2010
2:57 pm

Wow, A.J., something to be proud of.

ed

February 9th, 2010
2:57 pm

I agree. Dude is going to break the bank and there is no doubt his tread is getting worn down. Signing him would be no way to build up a team. Let Daniel Snyder go after him.

The Real FALCON

February 9th, 2010
2:57 pm

TD will get the players that best fit our team and character.

Paddy

February 9th, 2010
2:57 pm

Noi, No, a hundred times NO

E's Dirty Bird's

February 9th, 2010
3:01 pm

We have to improve somewhere…and Peppers is definitely an improvement. I’m glad Bradely is not our GM.

hmmmm......

February 9th, 2010
3:05 pm

Are there any other good free agent ends? Is Osi(?) the guy from the Giants a free agent? TO is.

mackdad3

February 9th, 2010
3:07 pm

if he is a whiner (which seems to be the overriding belief among sports writers) then this does not fit the current regime’s building “process”…don’t really see this happening which is a good thing.

Old Fan

February 9th, 2010
3:07 pm

Old Fan

February 9th, 2010
3:08 pm

Dang! Beaten out again!

gadawgs

February 9th, 2010
3:10 pm

I disagree. We need to go and get him.

Southside Falcon

February 9th, 2010
3:12 pm

I agree mark Its not worth it

Harry

February 9th, 2010
3:12 pm

I don’t think TD is thinking about Peppers at all. So Mark…be in Peace. All the points you have mentioned above are true and facts.

We have Jerry & Moore returning. If we can get CB & DE/OLB through initial draft picks… our defense is going to be very tough. TD has already hinted that “A good pass rusher could be found in 3rd/4th rounds” in a lot of Radio shows.

Some of the picks will be used for OL,WR & TE. It will be an interesting ride to Draft day.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 9th, 2010
3:13 pm

I was one that was interested in Peppers , but now after reading your article I agree with you he only needs to come to the dome as a visitor.good article

Without-a-clue

February 9th, 2010
3:13 pm

I think the only reason the Falcons should consider Peppers is to keep him from New Orleans. The Saints with a pass rush would be frightening.

Joey

February 9th, 2010
3:14 pm

Say “yes” to Julius Peppers.

Say “no” to Steely Dan references.

Dont forget the potential for lock-out...

February 9th, 2010
3:15 pm

A thirty two yr. old pass rusher is a risk, especially with the signing bonus he’s gonna want. That money will be gone whether we play in 2011 or not. You could end up spending $20+ million for a single season and be stuck with a thirty four year old has been who hasn’t rushed the passer for a year come 2012. I’ll take my chances in the draft.

Toe Meets Leather

February 9th, 2010
3:18 pm

Well, if he’s a good conversationalist, he could join Sam Baker and other injury-prone players on the bench and keep them amused.

Toe Meets Leather

February 9th, 2010
3:20 pm

I’ll take my chances in the draft.

Ya know, we haven’t drafted a tight end for a while. I was thinking . . .

Dont forget the potential for lock-out...

February 9th, 2010
3:22 pm

Yeah, since we don’t have a pick in the 2nd round, let’s trade the 2011 1st rounder early in round two for a stud blocking TE!

Nique

February 9th, 2010
3:22 pm

Seriously Mark???

Mark once again your flat out wrong, just like your SB pick! There is no way that we shouldn’t pursue Peppers! Now if he ends up asking for more than we are willing to give, then that’s one thing, but to not pursue him at all would be stupid! Also your depiction as someone who slouches off frequently is unfair & is a total proof texting of your stats because he’s been in the league 8 years & 6 of those he’s been a double digit sack guy (12 in 13 games (11, 10.5, 13, 14.5, & 10.5), & the one other year he had 7 which is not to shabby, so your claim of lack of consistency is mitigated. Yes he had an awful year in 07, yes some of it had to do with his lack of drive due to his unhappiness with the organization, but he also missed to complete games & played at less than a 100% of that year to. Peppers is unquestionably one of the most dominate pass rushers in the game so with out complete lack of pass rush, adding him would do wonders for our line. In Car he had no front line help since Rucker & Jenkins left, just as Abe hasn’t had help, imagine placing Pep, Abe, Bab, & Jerry on a front line, the pressure we’d apply, not to mention bringing about the pure rushers & fresh bodies of Kroy & Sid. If we did that got 1 more CB with some size & a mid round OLB with speed to cover sideline to sideline this D would be dynamic, as would our team as a whole! Your crazy to bash this as a positive option.

Bangkapi Ajarn

February 9th, 2010
3:24 pm

I agree Mark, I suspect a Peppers contract/presence would ultimately, after the test of time, likely be looked back upon as an organizational Albatross that entered the Falcon paradigm just as the Vick albatross was expiring. Long range planning wise, a negative impact.

collegeballfan

February 9th, 2010
3:25 pm

You are correct Mark, he just takes to may plays off.

your going to hate life when Bobby Cox retires.

February 9th, 2010
3:27 pm

Jesus enough with the first crap, who cares. I hope the falcons don’t sign him, he is big “my stats” player and not a team player.

Halsey

February 9th, 2010
3:27 pm

I agree with Mark…..but man is Peppers talented. I wouldn’t want the Falcons signing him, but it wouldn’t kill me either.

Nique

February 9th, 2010
3:29 pm

& Peppers is 30 not 32, a three year contract would not be to much, hell no one let age scare them off from T.G. who actually was 32 when we traded for him.

GSU Eagle 91

February 9th, 2010
3:30 pm

I say NO…Playing for Coach Fox in Carolina is a pretty good reason to come to work each day, and so why does anyone think a change of scenery means a change of attitude?
And the Falcons CANNOT give him a huge contract..( Think Peerless Price or Nick Esasky)
TD will get us what we need in the draft and through other viable means….

Mark Bradley

February 9th, 2010
3:31 pm

I don’t know, A.J. We’ve got some quick folks out there. But kudos on this one.

WonderDawg

February 9th, 2010
3:31 pm

You’re right on the money on this, as usual, Mark (except when you gush over B Cox) .

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

February 9th, 2010
3:31 pm

No to Peppers and no to any reference to a group named after a dild0. Call me Deacon Blue

ken

February 9th, 2010
3:35 pm

your a dumba** y wouldnt u want 1 of the best defensive ends who turned down a max contract because he said he wasnt worth

JB

February 9th, 2010
3:36 pm

Please, please no……..We have had our share of once great players with the goody ( almost) gone. please do not sign this guy for 10 mil a year. Abrams was worth it, though prone to injury. Peppers is a great end, But I would rather see us sign THREE pretty good defensive players than ONE Peppers.

Ivan Vasilii Vladivostok, aka "Pasha dat a$$"

February 9th, 2010
3:36 pm

Forget Peppers, sign my socialist homie Wladimir Klitschko and his hottie girlfriend.

Mark Bradley

February 9th, 2010
3:36 pm

Thanks, WonderDawg. We can agree to disagree on one point.

Todd - Dacula

February 9th, 2010
3:37 pm

MArk, you should not write to undermine players ability to get contracts. Unless you know the circumnstance as to why a players stats vary, you are being reckless.

Perhaps the Falcons should cut Matt Ryan; it makes sense based on your assessment of Peppers… Matt certianly had a down year.

Willy

February 9th, 2010
3:39 pm

Mark, lift this conversation to the next level, please.

This is a non issue. Everybody knows what Peppers is and about his tendency (too light of a word) to disappear. The Falcons of old would have tried to get him, these Falcons won’t even consider it. I’d like to see this too long conversation move more towards who we can get to play opposite Abraham.

Its also been well covered that Abe’s poor showing last season was a reflection of the D as a whole. Correct; Jerry, Moore, and every other defensive improvement will make Abraham what he is supposed to be. I’d like to see you and Schultz and Ledbetter get us excited about those possibilities.

You read your blogs and you see the votes. We know these things. The Atlanta fan base is getting smarter with smarter management. Stop writing to the old, remedial school. You guys (I think especially you) have created a good sports page again, with a fairly knowledgeable readership. Work it.

Falkor

February 9th, 2010
3:39 pm

The theme of TD and Mike Smith’s rebuilding so far is to bring in youthful talent. Peppers is in no way youthful, and his talent is on a downslide. I don’t mind him leaving the NFC South by any stretch, but I don’t want him to land in Atlanta.

Declare the Jamaal project a bust and use a early pick on another pass rusher.

The 2007 Giants beat the almighty 2007 Patriots by showing us you can never have too many pass rushers. I’m sure TD is aware of this, hopefully

Mark Bradley

February 9th, 2010
3:40 pm

I am incapable of lifting this conversation, or any conversation, to the next level, Falkor.

So I’ll just say this: I think the Falcons will cut Jamaal Anderson and spend the first pick on a pass rusher. How’s that?

kenbud

February 9th, 2010
3:43 pm

? for Mark … What other ‘pass rushers’ are available this year (non-draft)? … I’m just curious.

Ivan Vasilii Vladivostok, aka "Pasha dat a$$"

February 9th, 2010
3:43 pm

No takers on Wladimir Klitschko? If they guy got under you with a swim move he’d lift you right off the ground and then could drop into coverage!!

Willy

February 9th, 2010
3:44 pm

Better, and my name’s not Falkor

Falkor

February 9th, 2010
3:46 pm

Thank you Willy, thought I was being spanked for my sister’s mess again….

Mark Bradley

February 9th, 2010
3:46 pm

Marcus Spears is a restricted free agent for Dallas, kenbud. I’d take a run at him.

Nique

February 9th, 2010
3:46 pm

& for all of those who want to get a DE through the draft, how did JA work out for ya’ll? & As good as Kroy is, he’ll never be able to hold Pepper’s jockstrap. Why not quit rolling the dice & suck it up & just acquire a stud vet & allow him & Abe to work together & serve as mentors to the 2/3 young DE’s we currently have? & Honestly it doesn’t have to be Pep, we could go make a play for Osi as well, & the cheapest option would be to risk it going after Kampman coming off an injury. Pep is the best play of them all & I want him more than the others, but I’d rather go with a vet & let them teach & train up what we have rather than keep gambling on DE’s in the draft yearly. Especially since when we trading for Gonzo, we said that did so with the intent to win now, get a vet front line person would only further that logic. If we got Pep, we automatically have a top 5 line in the league no ? & if we’re gonna stick with these young CB’s (which i hope we don’t, we need 1 more playmaker back there?) we need thst kind of heat on the QB.

allan in texas

February 9th, 2010
3:47 pm

I do’nt wanna do your dirty work no more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kenbud

February 9th, 2010
3:51 pm

Sweet! thanks Mark …. I see another blog post coming soon. LOL …… ……. “Falcons should go after Marcus Spears” :-)

MatthewH

February 9th, 2010
3:52 pm

The Panthers offered to make Peppers the league’s highest paid defensive player after a sub-par 2007 season. Peppers ignored them-just like Carolina is doing now. After having an outstanding 2008, he wanted to be the league’s highest paid defensive player, but Haynesworth and Asomugha had signed huge contracts, and it would have cost the Panthers 20 million. So, he made noise about wanting to leave Carolina and even submitted a list of teams that he liked. Carolina gave him the franchise tag and it cost them 16 million for one year. In the words of Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer, it made him “Temp Man, the world’s highest paid temp.”
Peppers is going to want 20 million. Can the Falcons afford that?!? Can the Falcons afford to pay someone that isn’t a team player? You are right on with this one, MB. All of the people that say the Falcons should sign him, where is the money coming from?

Mark Bradley

February 9th, 2010
3:54 pm

Kenbud, you’re getting the hang of this.