Teams have until Thursday afternoon to decide if they want to assign one of their players the franchise tag, but it appears the Carolina Panthers have already made their decision regarding their highest profile free agent.
Julius Peppers will not be given the franchise tag, a team source said.
The official announcement is likely to come Tuesday, when the Panthers hold a news conference to address a number of issues.
If the Panthers had opted to tag Peppers, it would have cost them $21.4 million — about $1.3 million per game — which the team deemed too pricey. Peppers will be one of the highest-profile free agents since Reggie White.
Even though Peppers has appeared ready to move on to a team willing to commit long term, I’m sure he wouldn’t have had much of a problem playing for over $20 million next season. With that big one year deal off the table, he is sure to fetch much more than that guaranteed on the open market. Will that ultimate price be more than Clark Hunt is willing to spend?
The Chiefs are in desperate need of improvements at linebacker and it’s impossible to deny that Hali playing opposite of Peppers is an exciting thought. But there is also the question of both being able to handle the coverage responsibilities that come along with their position.