Julius Peppers days of being a dominant defensive lineman are becoming fewer and fewer. Peppers knows this and Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery knows this.
“I’m not going to get into contracts,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said. “He’s under contract. Julius had an 8-8 year like all of us, like I did, and that’s where he’s at.”
Peppers is set to count $18.183 million against the team’s cap in 2014. The Bears entered the offseason with only aout $80 million committed to players prior to re-signing Jay Culter, Tim Jennings and Matt Slausson. They could still rework Peppers’ contract. Twice he has restricted his deal since arriving in Chicago.
“I didn’t say he was an 8-8 defensive end. I said he had an 8-8 season, to correct that,” Emery said. “That’s a whole lot different. Obviously, Julius had a lot of good games like a lot of our players, and he had games that he would want back, and I think Julius would say that, too. We will work through each and every player on our squad and to determine where we’re going with him in the future, and that process is going to take time. But Julius is under contract. We’re proud that he’s a Bear, and that’s where we’re at.”
Peppers just completed the fourth year of a six year deal worth $84 million.
In 2013 Peppers recorded 46 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception. His 7.5 sacks on the season marked the first time since 2010 he had fewer than 11. It also marked just the fourth time in his career that he did not record double digit sacks.
Regardless of the decline, Peppers is still a very productive player but the Bears will want his salary to fit into their 2014 plans.