Julius Peppers looks set to stay with the Green Bay Packers for the 2015 season, but the Packers will have to pay a hefty price to keep him.
Peppers joined the Packers in March of 2014 from arch rivals the Chicago Bears on a three year deal. That was essentially a one year deal however, with the Packers having the option to keep the outside linebacker.
It seems that Peppers has coped well enough with the change from a 4-3 defense at the Bears to the 3-4 hybrid that Green Bay runs and is being rewarded for his efforts by getting very well paid next season.
According to a report from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Peppers is set to earn $9.5million guaranteed next year but will count for an astonishing $12million against the Packers salary cap.
"Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers didn't reach any of the salary escalators in his contract from last season, so in 2015 he will make up to $9.5 million in salary and bonuses, as his contract signed last year originally called for," Pete Dougherty stated earlier today.
The bonuses that Peppers failed to get last year include winning the Super Bowl, having 12 sacks or more during the 2014 season and being named the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year.
It seems that the money to pay for this Peppers deal has come from the release of Packers lifer and fan favorite A.J. Hawk. The middle linebacker was cut last night as part of what appears to be a cost cutting measure, but head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Peppers won't be facing the same fate.
"Yeah, I definitely believe Julius Peppers is going to be here," McCarthy said at the Combine. "He was very comfortable. He had a great year. He made an impact both on the field and in the locker room. It was unique to get to know Julius Peppers through the process of once he signed as a free agent. I think he looks great in green and gold."