Julius Peppers didn't have the most productive 2013 season. At last week's press conference, Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said that Peppers had an 8-8 type season, just like the Bears. That really summed his performance up. His play was about as inconsistent as could be this season. He had a few monster games, a few games where he was just average, and a few others where he didn't even scratch any stat column.
Peppers signed a huge contract in 2010, and he has already restructured his deal on two occasions, so another restructure would be unlikely.
The Bears could go the same route that they took with J'Marcus Webb and Earl Bennett, when they asked them both to lower their base pay, with the option that their performance would boost their salary back up. I just don't see Peppers agreeing to something like that. He carries a cap hit of about $18 million in 2014 and a hit of $20 million in 2015. Asking him to give up so much cash seems unlikely to me.
The Bears will either let him play his deal out another year or cut him.
Cutting him will still create a lot of dead money the next two years, but they will save a substantial amount as well. If the Bears do cut him, would you be OK giving some of the savings to Corey Wootton or to another team's free agent, or to both? Do you see enough promise in David Bass to hand him more playing time? Would you be comfortable drafting a guy at 14th overall and letting a rookie fill Peppers' role?
The Bears aren't really hurting in available cap space in 2014, and the recent deal given to Jay Cutler gives the Bears even more flexibility.
I think holding on to Julius Peppers may be the best option for the Bears, but they do need to reduce his reps. I just don't see a better option on the current roster, and until we see how free agency shapes up or how the draft falls, it would be hard to move on without Peppers.
In doing some research for this post, I came across a similarly titled article that I wrote back in March of 2013, Should the Chicago Bears cut Julius Peppers?
Yep, same title...
Before the 2013 I posed this same question, and the comments were mostly for keeping Peppers around for what ended up being one of his worst season as a pro.
So now I'll ask again, is it time for the Bears to cut Peppers?