The Bears had perhaps the worst defensive season in team history in 2013. One of the main contributing factors was the subpar season of high-priced defensive end Julius Peppers, who too often was a non-factor. At a cost of over $14MM against the salary cap, Peppers recorded just 7.5 sacks and failed to impact games on a week-to-week basis. Now 34, Peppers has two years remaining and is scheduled to count approximately $18.2MM against the cap in 2014 and approximately $20.7MM against the cap in 2015. Those figures are obviously unreasonable given his deterioration and the Bears’ laundry list of needs. In his most recent mailbag for ESPN Chicago, Michael C. Wright says Peppers would “absolutely” restructure his deal, but also details a scenario in which Peppers is cut post-June 1 with the thinking that swallowing a moderate dead-money cap hit is more palatable in order to save money.
More news and notes from around the NFC:
- Wright does not envision the Bears re-signing any of their key free agents-to-be before the start of free agency, saying “most” of the Bears 25 players with expiring contracts will be elsewhere next season.
- Michael Vick knows he won’t be back in Philadelphia, but does not see himself as a backup. Vick “very badly” wants a chance to start, according to the Philadelphia Daily News’ Les Bowen (per Twitter).
- In an analysis of the Saints‘ needs, ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett said there’s a “strong chance” stalwart right tackle Zach Strief could depart via free agency, saying the 30-year-old could start for anyone. That observation might not be that far off, as Pro Football Focus rated Strief as the best right tackle in the game in 2013 (subscription required).
- The Giants and safety Stevie Brown, who missed 2013 because of a torn ACL, are discussing a contract, according to Pro Football Talk.