Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson disputes the notion his team never does anything in free agency and pointed to his team’s signing of veteran defensive end Julius Peppers in March as evidence to the contrary.
Thompson told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he’s not a fan of the label he does nothing during the free agency period.
“People who say we don’t use free agency are wrong. We’ve always dabbled in free agency. Sometimes you can spend a lot of time and effort recruiting a guy, which we’ve done in the past, and nothing comes of it, and nothing comes out publicly and people assume we didn’t try to do something. We almost always, always every offseason, try to do something in free agency, certainly with our own guys but also with guys around the league.”
Peppers signed with the club on March 15, four days after he was released by the Chicago Bears. The 34-year-old former All-Pro had seven sacks in 2013 to go with 45 tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception and three passes defensed.
“Well, 34 is not so old,” Thompson said Thursday. “Not for some of us. There’s no evidence of any decline in his play, in our opinion. He still has the same athletic traits that he had coming out. He’s had a remarkable history in the NFL in terms of durability. We’re looking forward to it. I think he is, too.”
Peppers has missed six games (four due to suspension) in 12 NFL seasons, during which he’s had 118.5 sacks and been named All-Pro three times, in 2004 and 2006 while he was with the Carolina Panthers and in 2010, his first year with the Bears. He’s been selected to eight Pro Bowls, the most recent in 2012.
And it is a good contract for both Peppers and the Packers—up to $30 million over three years, but with just $7.5 million in guarantees. It’s not a bad deal for Peppers or the Pack if he performs, but it doesn’t cripple the organization with dead money if he doesn’t.
Peppers was the second overall pick by the Panthers in the 2002 draft and signed with the Bears as a free agent in March 2010.