Ranking the 20 Best Free-Agent Signings in Packers History

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3. Julius Peppers, Outside Linebacker, 2014

When Julius Peppers signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2014, it was a move that raised eyebrows. Here was a former Chicago Bear, one of the Packers’ fiercest rivals, coming to Green Bay in the twilight of his career. Peppers signed a three-year, $26 million contract, a significant investment for a player many believed was past his prime. Yet, Peppers defied the doubters and became a key figure in the Packers’ defense.

Peppers brought with him a wealth of experience and a reputation as one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL. His impact was felt immediately, as he recorded seven sacks, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions in his first season with the Packers. His versatility was a boon for the defensive scheme; Peppers lined up as both a defensive end and outside linebacker, confusing offenses and creating mismatches.

One of Peppers’ most memorable moments came during the 2014 playoffs. In the NFC Divisional Round against the Dallas Cowboys, Peppers’ strip-sack of Tony Romo was a game-changing play that helped secure a victory for the Packers. His leadership and ability to perform in crucial moments were invaluable.

Over his three seasons in Green Bay, Peppers recorded 25 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015, underscoring his continued excellence even as he approached the end of his career. Peppers’ ability to stay healthy and perform at a high level provided stability to the Packers’ defense and allowed younger players like Clay Matthews to thrive.

Beyond the stats, Peppers brought a professional demeanor and work ethic that set an example for the entire team. His presence in the locker room was a calming influence, and his mentorship helped develop the next generation of Packers defenders.

After his contract ended in 2017, Peppers returned to the Carolina Panthers, where he had started his illustrious career. His time in Green Bay, though relatively short, was marked by consistent performance and significant contributions to a team that consistently contended for the playoffs.