Continue in 10
NFL Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears Make Only Realistic Move, Release Julius Peppers

Julius Peppers

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears were trying their best to trade Julius Peppers. It’s been no secret for awhile now that the DE wouldn’t be back in Chicago next season. But was there really a person out there who thought the Bears would find a trade partner?

Even casual football fans could see the writing on the wall and now it’s official — Peppers has been released by the Bears.

After being unable to unload him on the trade market, the veteran DE has now been cut loose, leaving him free to sign anywhere.

I certainly don’t blame the Bears for shopping Peppers around. That’s the best place to start when you’re trying to unload an aging star. But was there ever even a market for Peppers? I doubt it.

After four years in the Windy City, it’s not necessarily fair to call call Peppers’ stint a failure. He had two good years in 2011 and 2012, which both resulted in trips to the Pro Bowl. But by the time 2013 was in the books, it became obvious that Peppers was on the decline and that he was likely headed for a new chapter in 2014.

So where will the veteran DE land next? Most people will point to Tampa Bay, because of the obvious ties to former-Bears coach Lovie Smith. The Bucs make sense, but so do many other teams in need of pass-rushing help. But no matter where he signs, it’s clear that Peppers will be taking on a new, more limited pass-rushing role.

As for the Bears post-Peppers, they now have about $20 extra million to work with.

 

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter and Google