Peppers will sign with the Panthers, with whom he began his career, ESPN.com reports.
Selected by Carolina with the second overall pick in the 2002 draft, Peppers had double-digit sacks in six of his eight seasons (2002-2009) with the team. He was also productive in Chicago and Green Bay, though he stepped back to a supporting role for the Packers last season, notching 23 tackles and 7.5 sacks in 16 games. Peppers may be used as a situational pass rusher rather than as a starter upon returning to Carolina. This could serve as the farewell tour in an impressive career that has featured 143.5 sacks and counting.
Peppers intends to return for a 16th season in 2017, ESPN's Rob Demovsky and Vaughn McClure report.
Peppers is set to become a free agent after playing out his three-year contract with the Packers. During that span, Peppers posted 25 sacks, including 7.5 this past season, moving him into fifth all-time in career sacks (143.5). At 37 years old, Peppers has transitioned into a situational player focused on rushing the passer, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of interest he receives on the open market this week.
Peppers registered 7.5 sacks in a noticeably limited role last season, and although that production was impressive for someone his age, the Packers' many free-agent edge defenders may cause them to prioritize options younger than the 37-year-old this offseason. For his part, it's unclear whether Peppers will continue playing or opt to retire, thus complicating his situation further. What's certain, though, is that as the NFL's fifth-leading sack artist of all time, Peppers can hold his head high no matter what his future holds.
Peppers finished the 2016 campaign with 23 tackles, including 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and three passes defensed.
Peppers scarcely showed his age this past season, as he continued putting up strong numbers in his age-36 season. The Packers tried to the veteran pass rusher fresh throughout the season, playing him on 57 percent of defensive plays and often resting him for a practice during the week. He'll be an unrestricted free agent once the league year ends and it's unclear if he'll opt to return for a 16th season or retire. If he does return, he'll figure to see a similar or slightly reduced role in 2017.
Despite being 36 years old, Peppers has continued to produce for the
|2014||Green Bay Packers||16||44||29.0||15||7||2||101||50.5||52||2||11|
|2015||Green Bay Packers||16||37||25.0||12||10.5||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||Green Bay Packers||16||23||15.0||8||7.5||0||0||0.0||0||0||3|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2014||Green Bay Packers||16||0||0||4||0||3||2||3||0|
|2015||Green Bay Packers||16||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||Green Bay Packers||16||0||0||2||0||1||0||1||0|