With the 2014 NFL offseason in full swing, teams are beginning to make their cuts in order to better position themselves financially. The Chicago Bears made a huge splash just a few years ago signing defensive end Julius Peppers, yet in recent years his lack of production appears to have resulted in a ticket out of the windy city.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Chicago is likely to cut ties with Peppers very shortly.
GM Phil Emery wasn’t the one who vastly overspent for Peppers (that was since-fired GM Jerry Angelo), so I don’t believe for a second he will play the sporadic performer $14M (counting $18.2M against the cap). In fact, Emery would be a fool to do so with all of Bears’ other needs on defense. Save his $14M in cap space — which they need with Jay Cutler counting a ridiculous $22.5M against the cap — and let Peppers go.
If and when the Bears finally let go of their former prized possession, they will have gotten rid of Peppers’ $18 million cap number for 2014 and will have a bit more breathing room this offseason. The Bears have to fill plenty of holes in the defense before the start of next season, and releasing Peppers will allow them to be able to address those holes easier.
With Peppers under contract for 2014, Chicago would be in a bind and likely would not be able to even think about bringing back the likes of Charles Tillman or Roberto Garza, two guys that have been talked about quite often lately. Both Tillman and Garza are set to be free agents and Chicago would love to have them back.
When the Bears see Peppers out the door, their next move may be to release wide receiver Earl Bennett — another tidbit from La Canfora’s report. It seems Chicago is serious about fixing the problems and bringing in the best talent they can afford, and fans should be excited.