Julius Peppers is no longer a Carolina Panther.
The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end and top free agent prize agreed yesterday to a six-year deal worth potentially $91.5 million.
Agent Carl Carey said a record $42 million is guaranteed, with Peppers earning $20 million in the first year and $40.5 million over the first three. The deal includes incentives for sacks, making the Pro Bowl, and winning Defensive Player of the Year.
“It’s one thing to play football in this league and make a living, but it’s a totally different thing to come to a place with a rich tradition like the Bears,’’ Peppers said.
Besides Peppers, the Bears lured running back Chester Taylor from NFC North champion Minnesota with a four-year contract and blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna from San Diego with a five-year deal. Taylor’s contract is worth $12.5 million with $7 million guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiation.
The 6-foot-7-inch Peppers brings uncanny athletic ability and questionable consistency, along with the 81 sacks he collected in eight seasons with Carolina - 10 1/2 last year.
Taylor backed up All-Pro Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. He’ll challenge for time in the Bears backfield after Chicago’s running game slipped last season, with Matt Forte rushing for 929 yards after finishing with 1,238 as a rookie in 2008.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
is being investigated in an allegation of sexual assault at a Georgia nightclub, police said.
Officers said the alleged assault occurred early yesterday morning at a nightclub in Milledgeville.
“He’s been identified as being at the scene and there are allegations naming him as the perpetrator,’’ Deputy Chief Richard Malone said.
Malone said Roethlisberger was with three other people who were mingling with another group that included the alleged victim, a 20-year-old college student. Malone said the woman and her party contacted a nearby police officer following the alleged assault.
Ravens haul in Boldin
The Ravens bolstered their receiving corps, obtaining three-time Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin
from the Cardinals for a third- and fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft. Baltimore also got a fifth-round pick from Arizona.
Boldin, 29, who has amassed at least 1,000 yards receiving in five of his seven seasons, received a four-year, $28 million deal with Baltimore in which $10 million is guaranteed. He was set to earn $3 million next season.
The 6-1, 217-pound Boldin is a physical player capable of making a crushing block or a difficult catch, but his one shortcoming has been injuries. He has had one injury-free season since 2003 and last season missed both of Arizona’s playoff games with ankle and knee injuries.
The Dolphins released two linebackers but signed a third, free agent Karlos Dansby
. The former Cardinals standout reached an agreement with Miami on a five-year deal, a league source told ESPN. Dansby’s contract is worth $43 million with $22 million guaranteed. The Dolphins terminated the contracts of disgruntled linebackers Joey Porter
and Akin Ayodele
as well as free safety Gibril Wilson
. Porter, a four-time Pro Bowler, was released last month but reverted to the Miami roster because of a salary-cap technicality . . . The Falcons agreed to terms on a six-year contract with free agent cornerback Dunta Robinson
, who had 13 interceptions in the last six seasons with Houston . . . Pro Bowl return specialist Josh Cribbs
finally has a new three-year contract with the Cleveland Browns
. After two seasons of threats, broken promises, and back-and-forth negotiations, the Browns have restructured the final three years of the six-year deal Cribbs signed in 2006. The total value of the contract has been reported at over $18 million, including $7.5 million in guaranteed money.
Giant deal for Rolle
The Giants made Pro Bowler Antrel Rolle
the richest safety in the NFL, signing the former Cardinal to a five-year, $37 million contract that has $15 million in guaranteed money. The signing fills a major need for the Giants, who lost Kenny Phillips
to a serious knee injury early last season . . . The Lions agreed to a four-year deal with defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch
after coach Jim Schwartz
waited outside Vanden Bosch’s Nashville home when free agency began at midnight. His deal reportedly is worth $26 million, with $10 million due in the first year for the 31-year-old. A nine-year veteran, Vanden Bosch spent the past five seasons with the Titans, getting all of his 43 1/2 career sacks. The Lions also acquired defensive tackle Corey Williams
and a seventh-round pick from the Browns for a fifth-round choice . . . The Colts re-signed middle linebacker Gary Brackett
, who has more than 100 tackles in each of the last five seasons. Brackett will reportedly get $33 million, including a $12 million signing bonus . . . Jets
safety Kerry Rhodes
will receive his $2 million roster bonus next week and is expected to remain with the team. The Jets, as expected, announced the release of running back Thomas Jones
and defensive back Donald Strickland
. . . The Eagles agreed to a three-year contract worth $11 million, including $6.5 million guaranteed, with All-Pro fullback Leonard Weaver
. . . The Broncos agreed to terms with offensive lineman Russ Hochstein
and receiver Brandon Lloyd
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