Examining the Peppers Possibility

As expected, the Carolina Panthers placed the franchise tag of disgruntled defensive end Julius Peppers Thursday, but that doesn't mean his situation has been resolved. Far from it. Peppers still wants to be traded, and he has said he will refuse to sign a new deal unless he gets sent to one four teams, one of which is from the AFC. So how does that affect the Dolphins?

There's been no projection as to the identityy of that AFC team, but suppose for a second it's the Dolphins.

Wouldn't Peppers look good in a Miami uniform lining up at outside linebacker opposite Joey Porter? Imagine the pass-rushing possibities there.

That's the fun part. The reality, and the less pleasant reality of the situation, is that the Panthers aren't just going to give Peppers away.

As it stands out right now, any team can sign Peppers as a franchise player and then give the Panthers two first-round picks as compensation for not matching. That's not going to happen.

First, no team is going to give Carolina any draft pick unless they get Peppers to agree to a long-term deal. Second, even then, two first-round picks probably is too steep a price for any team to pay.

So, what's going to happen? Peppers is free to negotiate with any team, but if he sticks to what he said, he'll only talk with four teams. If he agrees to terms for a long-term contract, then that team and the Panthers will have out to work out compensation and consummate a trade.

So what's the likely asking price for Peppers? A good barometer is the trade that sent Jared Allen from Kansas City to Minnesota.

In that deal, the Vikings gave the Chiefs a first-round pick and two third-rounders. So the question as far as the Dolphins are concerned is simple: If the pieces fall in place, and Miami happens to be one of the teams Peppers wants to play for, should the Dolphins make this trade?

On the one hand, Peppers is a big-time pass rusher who clearly would help the Dolphins defense in passing situations. On the other hand, though, it would go against the philosophy of building for long-term success. Besides, Peppers has been criticized for not always going all out, something you just don't know wouldn't sit well with either Tony Sparano or Bill Parcells.

The bottom line is giving up three draft picks and a ton of money for someone who's never played in a 3-4 defense to begin with is an awfully big price. Yes, Peppers would look good in a Dolphins uniform. But making that kind of move might be the best idea regardless.

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