How good is he? Well, I heard ESPN’s Adam Schefter say yesterday, as he reported on how unlikely it is that the Panthers tag him at the $20.02 million it’ll cost, that Peppers could be the highest profile free agent since Reggie White. In fact, he’s written it, too.
Is Peppers as good? Well, it’s obvious that physically, Peppers is good as it gets. But how about his production? Let’s put the two next to each other and compare them, as Peppers hits free agency after eight seasons, just as White did after his eighth season in 1993, the first year of free agency in the NFL.
Peppers: 6-foot-7, 283 pounds
White: 6-foot-5, 291 pounds
Then, there’s team success … Peppers has played in a Super Bowl, while White — at that point in his career — hadn’t. Also worth noting that through eight years, Peppers has been part of five Top 10 defenses and two Top 5 units, while White was part of four Top 10 defenses and a single Top 5 group in eight years as an Eagle. And you also have to take into account that White had two USFL seasons under his belt before playing a single NFL snap.
So what does it all mean? White was a rare talent, and so is Peppers. So even as it sounds quiet now around the big pass rusher, don’t be surprised if there’s an Oklahoma Land Rush for his services in a couple weeks time.
The key for the Patriots? I’ve heard that fit is important to Peppers, and despite his history, he might value that enough to leave a couple bucks on the table in the end. But that’s if it’s close, so the pace of the bidding war for Peppers, and whether or not it spirals into the stratosphere fast, could dictate how involved New England would be.