In a desperate attempt to free up some much-needed cap space for the official start of the 2014 NFL free agency period, the Chicago Bears are trying to swap anything they can get for defensive end Julius Peppers. The Bears are currently $10.2 million under the salary cap, which may not be enough to make a significant splash early in the offseason.
Although Peppers is a big-name defensive player in the league, his big contract is the thing that is scaring teams away from the 13-year veteran. In 2014, Peppers is set to receive $18.183 million, an amount that is way too much for an aging defensive starter whose skills are diminishing. Peppers finished last season with just seven sacks.
The chances of the 34-year-old veteran getting taken off the trading block is very close to zero. Therefore, Chicago will only have two choices: either keep Peppers and take the humongous cap hit (which would be dumb) or simply give him his walking papers.
Obviously, giving Peppers his outright release makes more sense. However, if that is the ultimate outcome, the Bears probably won’t do anything until the post-June 1 designation period. It is at this point that Chicago will have to eat up only $4.183 million of dead money in both 2014 and 2015 after cutting ties with Peppers. Surprisingly, in doing this, it will save them $14 million and $16.5 million in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
It was at this time in 2010 that Peppers was the league’s biggest free-agent signing. Now it appears that he will be on the opposite end of the spectrum this time around and eventually will be one of the many players looking for a new home late in the offseason.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.