DANA POINT, Calif. -- Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox didn't give much credence to the idea that the Carolina Panthers would be open to trading franchised defensive end Julius Peppers to the Patriots for the No. 34 overall pick in next month's NFL draft.
At the NFC coaches' breakfast today at the NFL owners' meetings, Fox was asked what his reaction to the trade proposal, which was first reported by NFL.com on March 16, was.
"I can't really comment on exactly how I felt," said Fox. "It was almost laughable. That can't happen. Our system, I think most people are educated enough to understand our system. I didn't give it much thought at all actually."
Peppers has not yet signed his $16.68 million franchise tag tender and would have to be under contract before he could be traded.
Fox said he hasn't talked to Peppers since the premium pass rusher made it known that he'd like to be traded, telling the Charlotte Observer in February that he felt his potential could be truly maximized in a 3-4 defense. Fox runs a 4-3 defense in Carolina.
Fox was asked if hearing Peppers, who has made four Pro Bowls with Fox as his coach, say he'd maxed out in Carolina was stinging.
"No, because maybe I've felt that I've maxed out," said Fox. "The difference is there are contracts. That's professional sport. You just can't do whatever you want when you want. It doesn't surprise me. It doesn't sting me. It's just that's this league."
Fox disputed the perception that having to clear that much cap space for Peppers is a burden on the Panthers' other plans, saying Carolina had planned for it when they decided to use the franchise tag on Peppers.
"I don't know is Tom Brady's cap number a burden? Is Eli Manning's? I don't know. It's just part of what we do," Fox said.
When it was pointed out that the Panthers would have to pay Peppers more than a million a game, Fox delivered a bon mot.
"I don't get into salaries," said Fox. "I don't know what Elton John makes. I don't know what Bono makes. I'm sure they make pretty good numbers too."