As free agency in the NFL for 2009 gets closer and closer, one player that is going to be in hot demand as he has made it clear he wants to move on is Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers. This Thursday, February 20th, is the final day that teams can put a franchise tag on players, and Peppers told reporters that he doesn’t want the tag, as he’s been vocal about wanting out of Carolina almost as soon as the clock hit zero in the teams playoff loss to the Cardinals January 10th.
Peppers told reporters that he is not 100 percent sure if the Panthers will try to tag him or not. “I really don’t know,” Peppers said Saturday in a 20-minute conference call with reporters. “I’m not expecting it and I am expecting it. There are so many dynamics to the situation that it’s possible for them to go either way on it.” The Panthers have had time to try and get a game plan together on Peppers, who is going to get a boat load of money on the open market somewhere.
The defensive end says that if the Panthers do tag him, that he will ask them then for a trade. “If they decide to use the tag on me, the first thing that I’ll be doing is requesting a trade,” Peppers said Saturday. “Then anything after, basically I don’t know what would be the course of action. We’ll deal with that when that time comes.”
As the 2009 NFL Free Agency period opens, there are a couple of teams that will have their eyes on Peppers, but he wants to go somewhere where the defense runs a 3-4, and there are only a few teams that do that. Included in that short list are the Steelers, Jets, Dolphins and Patriots. In seven years with the Panthers, Peppers has put up 60 1/2 sacks. He’ll find a new home somewhere once 2009 NFL free agency opens up.