• 48°

Panthers sign Gross, place franchise tag on Peppers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers placed the franchise tag on defensive end Julius Peppers on Thursday, setting up a potential nasty showdown with their four-time Pro Bowl defensive end who wants to play elsewhere next season.
The move came moments after the Panthers signed All-Pro left tackle Jordan Gross to a six-year deal worth more than $30 million in the first three seasons. Having locked up Gross, the Panthers then placed the non-exclusive tag on Peppers, who had said he would request a trade under that scenario.
“Julius was expecting to be franchised,” Peppers’ agent, Carl Carey, wrote in a text message. “We will continue to work toward a resolution that is in line with his professional goals.”
Under the non-exclusive franchise tag rules, Carolina offered Peppers a one-year guaranteed deal worth $16.7 million that will immediately count against the salary cap. While Peppers can still solicit offers from other teams, any club signing Peppers would have to surrender two first-round draft picks to Carolina.
Placing the tag on Peppers theoretically allows the Panthers to trade him for something less than two first-rounders and get some compensation instead of letting the cornerstone of their defense walk away in free agency. But Peppers has power because no team would likely trade for him without first securing a long-term contract agreement.
A person close to Peppers on Wednesday said he would agree to be traded to only four teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, who do not hold a first-round pick. So the Panthers face the prospect of not being able to work out a trade and then having Peppers either hold out or be disgruntled while eating up a giant portion of the salary cap.
But while Peppers has been adamant that he won’t sign a long-term deal with Carolina, general manager Marty Hurney wouldn’t rule out Peppers returning and said the team will not immediately seek a trade.
“We’ve said many times how many times we value Julius,” Hurney said. “We would like him to play here.”
NFL teams can place the franchise tag on just one player, so the Panthers were scrambling to come to terms with Gross before the Thursday afternoon deadline.
Carolina’s first-round pick in 2003 played last season under the franchise tag in a one-year, $7.45 million deal. His new contract makes him one of the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman.
Gross, who made his first Pro Bowl and was voted a first-team All-Pro last season, had said he wanted to stay in Carolina and was the key cog in an improved offensive line that helped running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have breakout seasons.
“Jordan is one of the top left tackles in our league and our offensive line was one of our strong points of our team last year,” Hurney said. “Jordan’s a very big part of that. … We’re so glad we were able to come to an agreement and be able to have Jordan here for another six years.”
The moves mean that all five starters on the line are locked up in long-term deals. The defensive line, meanwhile, is in flux.
Peppers, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 draft, is a freakish athlete and Carolina’s career sacks leader. But Peppers has also been criticized for inconsistent play – he had a career-high 14O sacks this past season, but a career-low 2O the year before.
Even in 2008, Peppers didn’t record a single tackle against Denver and was shut down in Carolina’s upset loss to Arizona in the playoffs.
Peppers, who turned down a lucrative contract extension before the start of last season, has said he would like to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense instead of staying in Carolina’s 4-3 alignment.
There is precedent to slapping the franchise tag on a player and then dealing him. Kansas City traded defensive end Jared Allen to Minnesota last year for a first-round pick and two third-round choices.
But Allen first agreed to a six-year contract with the Vikings that included $31 million in guaranteed money and could be worth $74 million if he meets certain incentives.
“You guys know how I feel about all this speculation and stuff,” Hurney said, when asked if Carolina could pull off a similar deal. “We franchised him and that’s where we are right now.”

Comments

Comments closed.

News

Racial bias ‘deeply entrenched’ in report critical of Apex Police Department

Nation/World

US bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia

Elections

City council again dismisses idea of adding new member, focus now on recommendation to delay elections

Business

‘Let’s make some money:’ Loosened restrictions praised by bar owners, baseball team

High School

Salisbury High bucks historical trend in dominant shutout of West Rowan

Enochville

Garage declared total loss after Enochville fire

Crime

Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

Coronavirus

Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan, six for the week

Crime

Blotter: Man brandishes AR-15, runs over motorcycle at Rockwell-area gas station

Crime

Salisbury man charged with exploitation of minor

Crime

Road rage incident results in assault charges

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Nation/World

FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID