Disgruntled defensive lineman Julius Peppers wants out of Carolina and reportedly thinks he can play as a linebacker in the 3-4 defense. One team he's been talking about may be getting interested in his services. The New England Patriots are reportedly interested in trading for Peppers, something PatriotsInsider.com reported on previously .
The latest update to this story, according to Vic Carrucci of NFL.com, is that New England is closing in on a deal that will send their second round pick (acquired in the deal for Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel) to Carolina for Peppers.
The deal makes sense for both parties writes Carrucci, because Carolina doesn't want to pay for a first round pick, and the Patriots second rounder (34th overall) is nearly the same value as a late first round pick without the cost. For New England, they would keep their first round pick (23rd overall), allowing them to target the best available linebacker or one of the top defensive backs they've been scouting for the 2009 NFL Draft.
Peppers was franchised by the Panthers guaranteeing him a one-year payday of at least $16.6 million. Since being tagged, Peppers demanded to be traded rather than sign an extension with Carolina. Any deal he signs with a new team would require a significant financial commitment.
Can Peppers thrive in New England at a new position in a new scheme? Scout.com and Sirius NFL insider Adam Caplan shared his take on the position change.
"From a competitive standpoint, it makes sense since they could use an upgrade at DE," Caplan wrote "[Peppers] said he thinks he could play OLB in a 3-4, but that would be a tremendous challenge for him."
Carrucci's report includes comments from a player personnel source who thinks signing Peppers may not be such a good idea.
"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."
The Patriots have the cap room to sign Peppers to a longerterm deal, but the impact of that signign coudl make waves for some of the other veterans on the roster due contract extensions of their own; Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork.
For more on Caplan's Take, check the Insider's Lounge where Caplan shared some insight into the debate between signing Jason Taylor or trading for Julius Peppers
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