According to NFL.com's Vic Carucci, the New England Patriots are exploring a trade with Carolina that would net Julius Peppers.
According to Carucci, the Patriots would send the second-round pick acquired from Kansas City in the Matt Cassel trade (No. 34 overall) to the Panthers for Peppers, their unhappy franchise player.
Peppers, who has demanded a trade from Carolina, would play outside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme.
The Packers were thought to be a landing spot for Peppers, especially after they went to a 3-4 defense with the hiring of new defensive coordinator Dom Capers in January.
The Packers have the ninth pick in the draft, which would certainly be more appealing to the Panthers than the Patriots' 34th pick. But, welcome to the new NFL, where money means everything in these tight economic times.
According to Carucci, "NFL sources say the Panthers would welcome the chance to unload Peppers for a second-round draft pick, even though it would be well below his market value, because it would be less costly than signing a first-rounder. The Panthers already have made some belt-tightening financial moves within their front office."
The No. 9 pick would require contractual guarantees of about $20 million.
There is plenty of question about Peppers' ability to play outside linebacker. As has been stated here, just because Peppers wants to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, that doesn't mean he'd be any good at it. That thought was echoed by one of Carucci's sources.
"This is a guy who totally went on strike two years ago because he wasn't happy with his contract," the player personnel source, who requested anonymity, told Carucci. "He's also very long (in the torso), which is not ideal for a 3-4 outside linebacker. And he can't drop into coverage. He's very stiff."