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Could Peppers be the answer?

Posted by Albert Breer  December 8, 2009 01:41 PM

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So I asked if that's something you can coach out of a guy -- In essence, can a dog become a horse for you?

"That's why he's such an enigma, he has that kind of potential," the scout said. "If you pay the guy, does he completely shut it down? A change of scenery might help, but it depends where he goes. Say he goes to Pittsburgh -- He gets to play in the 3-4, they have that core leadership, they've won Super Bowls, and maybe it becomes similar to what Moss had when he went to New England, and he said, 'OK, I buy in, do my thing, and I can win and get paid.

"It needs to be a stable situation with a proven head coach that can manage him without making it seem like he's against him. The coach would have to show him: You buy in, we win championships."

Just my own feeling here is that Bill Belichick and the Patriots would be enamored of Peppers on the defensive side the way they once were with Moss on the offensive side. He's another size-speed freak who's been awfully productive.

And he'll almost certainly be a free agent come winter. For the Panthers to franchise him, they'd have to do it at about $20.04 million (a 20 percent raise on this year's salary) which is most certainly a prohibitive number for almost anyone.

Last year, Carolina was completely dormant in free agency because Peppers's cap number hung around its neck like a noose. If the NFL does go into an uncapped environment, it would be easier to tag Peppers, but then you run the risk that he signs the tender, and assumes total control over his situation.

Bottom line: There's a really good chance Peppers hits the market. So keep an eye on him Sunday. Could be an audition.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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