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#pounditThursday, January 26, 2023

Articles tagged: Julius Peppers

Julius Peppers announces retirement from NFL

Julius Peppers

One of the greatest pass-rushers in NFL history has decided to call it a career.

Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers announced on Friday that he is retiring. The team shared an emotional tribute video to him on Twitter:

Peppers, 39, was drafted by Carolina with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. He spent the first eight years of his career with the Panthers before signing a massive free agent contract with the Bears on 2010. After four seasons in Chicago, Peppers spent three with the Green Bay Packers and then returned to Carolina for the last two.

Peppers had 16 sacks with the Panthers between 2017 and 2018, so he was still able to get after the quarterback even in his late-30s. He finishes his career with 159.5 sacks, which places him fourth all time.

10 NFL players who should be considering retirement

Josh McCown

Some say that the NFL stands for “Not For Long,” and the reasons for that are obvious. Football is a dangerous game played by some of the strongest and fastest athletes in the world. Most NFL careers are understandably short at an average of between 3-6 years, with the higher number projected by the NFL and the lower number projected by the NFLPA.

In some cases, players exceed those numbers, but Father Time catches up with everyone. And quite often, that’s a hard pill to swallow for someone who loves the game and knows nothing else. But in the end, retirement is inevitable for all who snap on the chinstrap.

Here’s a look at 10 NFL players who should be considering retirement in 2018.

10. Karlos Dansby, LB, free agent

Karlos Dansby briefly considered retirement a season ago before signing a one-year deal to return to the Arizona Cardinals, where he appeared in 16 games, recording 95 tackles and one sack. While Dansby’s numbers were still respectable, his Pro Football Focus grade dipped to 68.2, which is considered below average. But despite that, and the fact that he’s approaching the age of 37, Dansby still does not appear ready to hang them up, and teams remain interested. Ultimately, the window on Dansby’s career is closing. He’ll need to think about life after football sooner rather than later.

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Julius Peppers earns $750,000 bonus on big sack

Julius Peppers

Julius Peppers scored big on Sunday.

The Carolina Panthers veteran recorded a sack against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers late in the third quarter for a huge loss of 13. Not only did the play help limit the Bucs to just three points on the possession, but the sack triggered a $750,000 bonus for Peppers.

When Peppers signed with the Panthers in the offseason, he received a $3.5 million base salary. He received a $250,000 bonus for getting seven sacks; a $500,000 bonus for nine sacks; and if he got 11 sacks, he would receive a $750,000 bonus.

With a game left in the regular season, Peppers might even be able to get more. The 11 sacks are the most Peppers has had in a season since 2012 with the Bears. He now has 154.5 career sacks. He’s also in good company when it comes to the $750,000 bonus sacks club this season.

20 NFL free agent signings who have paid off most this season

Calais Campbell

The 2017 NFL regular season is nearing the end with only three games remaining. With so many games having been played, evaluating previously signed free agents becomes a bit easier. And more often than not, the mid-season and post-season grades for such signings vastly differ from their pre-season grades.

Case in point: Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Washington Redskins. It didn’t appear to be much of an investment on the surface, and some could have considered the deal a steal. But after substantial struggles early in the season, Pryor was lost to injury and the Redskins were out $6 million. Needless to say, not every high-profile deal is a good one.

Though the Pryor signing turned out to be a bust, many others yielded excellent results for their teams this season. Here’s a look at 20 free agent signings that have paid off this season (in no particular order):

20. Barry Church, S, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have been wheeling and dealing in recent years, so they’ll be well featured on this list. First up is safety Barry Church, who was signed to a four-year, $26 million contract this offseason. Although he’s playing slightly worse than a season ago, he’s still been a solid addition to Jacksonville’s defense. In 13 games, Church has recorded 60 tackles (47 solo), one sack, five passes defensed and two interceptions. He’s also warranted a 83.7 Pro Football Focus grade.

19. Rick Wagner, OT, Detroit Lions

Wagner signed a five-year, $47.5 million deal this offseason and has rewarded the Lions with 12 starts through 13 weeks. And while he hasn’t been perfect, he has earned a 81.7 PFF grade, which is good for 10th-best among tackles in the NFL. Needless to say, for a team that struggled along the offensive line in 2017, Wagner has helped provide some much-needed stability.

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Each NFL team’s most surprising player this season

Jared goff

The 2017 regular season has been packed full of surprises. From a team perspective, the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants stand out for being so much better and so much worse than we expected, but it’s not just limited to those two organizations.

Yes, the Rams and Giants have gone in totally different directions than expected, but units like the New England Patriots defense have been worse than expected, and the the New York Jets have even found a way to open eyes.

But what players have contributed to all these surprises? Well, here’s a look at every NFL team’s most surprising player, good or bad, so far this season.

Arizona Cardinals – Adrian Peterson, RB

After appearing in only 20 games over his final three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, many believed the career of Adrian Peterson had reached its end. Even with another opportunity given to him by the New Orleans Saints, little changed for Peterson. He appeared in four games, gaining just 81 yards on 27 carries. Then came the trade to Arizona. Although he hasn’t exactly returned to Hall of Fame form, he has gained 369 yards in five games, providing the Cardinals with an unexpected spark on the ground.

Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan, QB

A year after winning the NFL MVP Award and leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl, Matt Ryan has hit a bit of a wall. He’s returned to 2015 form and seen his completion percentage, yards per game, touchdown to interception ratio, yards per attempt and quarterback rating all drop — some of those considerably. He threw for 38 touchdowns last season and has just 15 in 10 games this season. His passer rating has dropped from 117.1 to 95.7. To cap it off, the Falcons are 6-4 and are no shoo-in to make the playoffs.

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Each NFL team’s MVP so far

Carson Wentz

There can only be one NFL MVP, but each team can claim their own most valuable player, no matter how good or bad the franchise’s season goes. Sometimes the team’s MVP is an elite defender, a star quarterback, or a remarkable playmaker, or even a special teams player, if the rest of the team is struggling a lot.

Here’s a look at each NFL team’s MVP so far in 2017.

Arizona Cardinals — Chandler Jones, LB

The former New England Patriot is once again proving to be the defensive rock for the Cardinals, setting records along the way. He has picked up eight sacks in just seven games thus far in 2017, and is proving to be a nightmarish foe for opposing blockers and quarterbacks. The gaudy numbers are great, but Jones has also been valuable in other ways. He’s good against the run and has put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, even when he doesn’t get the sack.

Atlanta Falcons — Devonta Freeman, RB

In what has been a disappointing year for the Atlanta offense, Freeman has continued to stand out and produce no matter what is happening around him. His 2017 thus far has been every bit as solid as his 2016 was. Freeman is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has piled up five rushing touchdowns in six games. As Matt Ryan and his fellow offensive players have failed to hit the heights that they did in 2016, Freeman has simply been steady and reliable.

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Each NFL team’s best defensive player so far

Von Miller

Through the first six weeks of the NFL season, several popular names still lead the fray when it comes to defensive production. However, key injuries to superstars like J.J. Watt have created a void that has been filled by some surprising players, many of whom are having career years.

Here’s a look at each NFL team’s best defensive player so far in 2017.

Arizona Cardinals — Tyvon Branch, S

There are a lot of talented defenders on Arizona’s roster, but through six weeks, it’s hard to argue that Tyvon Branch — who has been called a “wolverine” complement to the “honey badger” — isn’t the very best. He not only leads the team and is tied for the league lead with 55 tackles, but he’s also defended four passes, forced a fumble and was named to the Pro Football Focus First Quarter All-Pro Team. Branch getting the nod says a lot about his impact this season when you consider Arizona also has Chandler Jones and his six sacks.

Atlanta Falcons — Deion Jones, LB

Deion Jones has filled out the box score this year, leading the Falcons with 38 tackles. He’s also recorded a sack, three passes defended and an interception. Jones is also among Pro Football Focus’ top 15 graded linebackers this season, alongside teammate De’Vondre Campbell, who has also landed very high grades for Atlanta. Jones is blossoming well for Atlanta in his second NFL season.

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Every NFL team’s key role player

Tyler Lockett

Every NFL team has a series of superstars on both offense and defense who steal the limelight, but in order for a team to be successful, they need quality starters at every position and strong reserves/role players.

Often, it’s those role players who are ultimately the difference between a championship run or a story about what could have been.

Here’s a look at every NFL team’s key role player.

Arizona Cardinals – John Brown, wide receiver

This spot could have just as easily have gone to wide receiver J.J. Nelson, but John Brown has been an under-the-radar gem for the Cardinals several years running. He finished fourth on the team in all purpose yards (697) in 2016 despite starting only six games, and did his damage through the air, on the ground and returning both kicks and punts. Unfortunately he is currently being limited by a quad injury.

Atlanta Falcons – Adrian Clayborn, defensive end

After starting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over four seasons, Adrian Clayborn joined the Falcons as a reserve and like many others on defense, plays a key role. A rotational defensive end with quality experience, Clayborn recorded 7.5 sacks with Atlanta over his first two seasons and provides a solid third-and-long option. The 29-year-old has one sack this season, and made his presence felt with a big hit on Aaron Rodgers in Week 2.

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Julius Peppers: Panthers have ‘best defense I ever played on’

Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Julius Peppers has 16 years of NFL experience, but he’s experiencing a first in 2017.

After the Panthers leaned heavily on their defense to grind out a 9-3 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Peppers had high praise for the unit — calling it the best group he’s ever been a part of.

Peppers has 17 playoff games to his name, so he’s played on plenty of winning teams. They have some serious injury issues to deal with on the other side of the ball, but if the defense can keep playing like this, they’ll definitely stay above water.

10 NFL players who should be thinking about retirement

Darrelle Revis Jets

Football is a brutal sport, so it’s no surprise NFL careers are not exactly long-lasting. But in some cases, players are able to weather the repeated storms and carve out long, successful careers. It’s rare when you break it down by the numbers, but it does happen.

Eventually however, the game catches up to everyone and things begin to break down, the grind becomes more than a person can bear, and the decision to retire becomes paramount. Some go out on their own terms, but most are forced to leave the game they love whether they like it or not.

We’ve seen those two scenarios in recent years with the willing retirement of quarterback Peyton Manning and the forced retirement of countless others. Even guys like Tony Romo and Jay Cutler surprised many by taking broadcasting jobs this season over returning for another season, though neither has officially said he is done.

Here’s a look at 10 players who should be thinking about retirement.

10. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have begun looking into the future at quarterback, but for now, they’re sticking with Carson Palmer. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing as he’s clearly got a little left in the tank. But we know the former Heisman Trophy winner has considered stepping away.

“My intent was to take some time after the season to get away and see where I was physically and mentally,” Palmer said in a February statement. “On both fronts, I can say I’m ready to get back to work and prepare for the 2017 season. This is a phenomenal group with a very special opportunity in front of it. I know how rare that is and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”

The Cardinals gave Palmer a one-year contract extension last August so that he wouldn’t be a lame-duck quarterback in 2017, but there’s a chance neither side opts to see that final season. Once retirement gets into a player’s head and they begin taking months to decide their future, it won’t be too much longer before the decision to hang them up is made.

Is that a guarantee Palmer will retire following the 2017 season? No, but it’s a very plausible scenario. And even if he opts to return in 2018, it’s extremely unlikely he’ll play beyond that.

9. Karlos Dansby, LB, Cardinals

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