Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Jun 2009

Peppers Puts Pen To Paper For Panthers

If you're a general manager, and you tune into the Pro Bowl to see your defensive end openly campaigning on national television to leave your team, how do you make him happy? For Panthers GM Marty Hurney, the answer was simple: You offer him a one-year, $16.7 million deal. That's $16.7 million in guaranteed money -- Peppers could make another $2.5 million if he reaches playoff- and Pro Bowl-related incentives.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 24 Jun 2009

17 comments, Last at 25 Jun 2009, 10:51pm by Alex51

Comments

1
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 06/24/2009 - 9:01pm

Peppers good player.

8
by Bernard Bernoulli (not verified) :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 5:37am

Is he? Gosh.

16
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 9:56pm

yes, Pepperas good end. one of better ends in league. good job by Panters in signing him to this contrract. good chance Pmnathers make playoffs in 2009 seaosn. Look at me picks in forum dicsission thread. made them yesterday. llittle mesed up typing tonight becacuase drinking the old sierre nevada summerfets here. grreat gretat stuff

14
by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 3:11pm

Verhei good headline writer.

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

2
by c_f (not verified) :: Wed, 06/24/2009 - 9:35pm

Per http://profootball.scout.com/2/834635.html ,

$16.7m guaranteed is something like 185% of the value of a franchise tag for a DE (which the Panthers could not do given that they tagged Gross, but it offers some perspective).

Interesting that all OL positions have the same tag value and that CB tags cost so much more than DL or OL tags. (is that the effect of Asomugha's contact?)

6
by Alex51 :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 2:16am

$16.7 million guaranteed is a lot more than the value of a franchise tag for a DE, except when that DE was already making $14+ million last year, like Peppers, in which case, $16.7 million is about what they would've had to pay to franchise him.

CB tags are much higher than DL or OL tags, but I don't think it's Asomugha's contract that makes that the case (although it doesn't hurt). Last year, the 5 highest paid CBs averaged $10+ million, so the tag for this year would cost at least $12 million (even without Asomugha's new contract), which is higher than the cost of tagging a DL or OL. CBs are just paid really, really well.

3
by ChrisH :: Wed, 06/24/2009 - 9:38pm

It sounds like he basically just signed his franchise tender, and didn't even get a promise that they wouldn't do it again next year. It seems like the Panthers really won in this case, and they even get him to show up for all of training camp since he's signed early. I'm not sure that I really understand why Peppers signed this now.

Er, the article and blog post at ESPN made it sound like $16.7 million was the minimum franchise tender, which sounded high to me, but if that's almost double the default amount, then I see why he signed it, of course.

4
by Clemson matt (not verified) :: Wed, 06/24/2009 - 9:48pm

I believe the franchise tender is the average of the highest 5 players at the position, or 20% over the previous years salary (cap value?), whichever is greater. I think the reason his is so high, is because his salary last year was already well over the position average.

5
by Alex51 :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 1:48am

The reason it would've been so expensive to franchise Peppers is that he already had the highest salary for a DE last year, so given the mandatory 20% raise for franchised players, he would've been paid almost $17 million this season with a franchise tag. A regular franchise tag on a DE would not cost nearly that much, something like $11.5 million.

I imagine Peppers signed the deal because the team couldn't franchise him, so the best he could hope for is a one year contract that paid him the same amount, after which he could leave as a free agent. I mean, it's not like anyone could afford to pay him more than $17 million a year, so as long as he gets through the season without a major injury, he'll make more money in the long term this way than he would by leaving this year anyway.

7
by Bobman :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 4:00am

Still, it's pretty rare for guys to actually like a one-year deal enough to sign early. Most complain about the tag, not because of the money, but because of the uncertainty.

So why was he griping about the team? Money? D-style (does he want to be a 3-4 OLB?) Coaching...? What was his beef? He was surley being paid a lot. And he had had a fair amount of success in that system. So what was wrong? Usually it's a matter of contract duration and who can void the last years, etc. But not for JP.

And it is now "solved" by getting a 1-year contract (don't get hurt) and getting a bunch of money, but playing in the same organization he was campaigning against a few months ago.

Not sure I get it from Peppers' standpoint--maybe he's one of the few guys who only wants the money and doesn't care about stability/security of a longterm contract. Or maybe he really likes the guys he was badmouthing in February. So long as they can afford it, I think the Panthers came out okay. Of course they just skewed the cap for DEs up another $600k with this signing...

12
by Alex51 :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 9:48am

Still, it's pretty rare for guys to actually like a one-year deal enough to sign early. Most complain about the tag, not because of the money, but because of the uncertainty.

True, but in this case, we're talking about someone who already has tons of money. He can afford to take risks to get a higher return, because even if he does get injured, he'll still have more than enough money saved up from earlier years. Still, I agree that it's unusual.

So why was he griping about the team? Money? D-style (does he want to be a 3-4 OLB?) Coaching...? What was his beef? He was surley being paid a lot. And he had had a fair amount of success in that system. So what was wrong? Usually it's a matter of contract duration and who can void the last years, etc. But not for JP.

If he's to be believed, it was the D-style. He went out of his way to point out how much he loved the city, team, players, etc, insisting that "it's not you, it's me".

And it is now "solved" by getting a 1-year contract (don't get hurt) and getting a bunch of money, but playing in the same organization he was campaigning against a few months ago.

Not sure I get it from Peppers' standpoint--maybe he's one of the few guys who only wants the money and doesn't care about stability/security of a longterm contract. Or maybe he really likes the guys he was badmouthing in February.

I think the reason Peppers accepted the 1-year contract is that it basically guaranteed that he would have a chance at Free Agency next year, and that he would be well compensated in the meantime. If the Panthers try to franchise him after next year, they'd have to pay him $20+ million, and he knows that they won't do that.

His main goal in all of this was to get to a team that ran a defense he liked, so it makes sense for him to accept a 1-year contract if he sees it as his ticket out of town. What wouldn't make sense is for him to accept any contract that's longer than 1 year. So, the only remaining alternatives would be for him to stay home and earn nothing, sign the 1-year contract, or cause enough of a disturbance that the team lets him leave. The first alternative is stupid, and the third is one that he's already kind of tried.

9
by lobolafcadio :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 9:02am

Ok for the "don't get hurt while playing this year" angle, but he can now be "hurt" early in training camp and come back strong at the end of the year, his salary is guaranteed. And when would there be a better moment to sign a one year contract than just before an uncapped year ? He is one of the prime candidates for a bidding war next year. I wouldn't even be surprised if he retired next year, he is not exactly known for his passion of football...

10
by starzero :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 9:35am

Awesome! Alliteration!

11
by Temo :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 9:42am

Vince>Bill

13
by ElJefe :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 9:51am

The Panthers did franchise Peppers. That is why the team was in such a hurry to sign Jordan Gross before the free-agency period began.

Peppers signing the tender now indicates to me that his beef was really about "I want $40 MM guaranteed" than about his role or teammates/coaches. (Although, didn't Carolina fire the D-line coach this offseason??) His agent dutifully did due diligence, discovering (see, alliteration is easy!) that no other team was willing to both give Peppers "Haynesworth money" and surrender draft choices to Carolina for the privilege.

Not sure about the specific rules for the 2010 off-season, but I do know that the Franchise tag will still exist for the 2010 season. Carolina can apply the tag to Peppers again, at >$20MM if the previous + 20% rule still applies. Trying to sit out this season may have resulted in Carolina being able to re-apply the tag at the standard rate for DEs, since Peppers would have technically earned $0 playing football the previous season. If Peppers can stay healthy/effective for the next two seasons he will make an enormous amount of money by 2011. Two Franchise tags + the guaranteed money from a contract signed under whatever is in place for the 2011 season may add up to >$70 MM!

Overeducated Layabout

15
by Parmenides :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 4:51pm

There is some indication, more at the total speculation level, that he might be willing to now sign a long term contract. http://blogs.charlotte.com/panthers/2009/06/longterm-deal-could-be-next-...

"Peppers' agent, Carl Carey, told the Observer late Wednesday night that Peppers was satisfied with the contract tender he signed (which could be worth a mind-boggling $19.183 for the 2009 season), but also was willing to consider a more permanent arrangement."

So we'll see. Everyone who who knows Peppers basically say that they don't quite understand him. His public statements where the most anyone in the public had heard from him in a while and I wouldn't be completely surprised if they where indicative of where he was after last season and not necessarily where he is now.

Of course he could also be fine with taking the money and hoping that cap room doesn't allow the Panthers to franchise him again. But, it has already been stated that there is no promise from the Panthers that they wouldn't Franchise him next year. So who knows?

17
by Alex51 :: Thu, 06/25/2009 - 10:51pm

The Panthers did franchise Peppers. That is why the team was in such a hurry to sign Jordan Gross before the free-agency period began.

I stand corrected. I thought they had tagged Gross. In any case, $16.7 million is $16.7 million, so either way, he had a very good reason to sign that contract. And yeah, if things work out right for him, he could easily be making more than Peyton Manning over the next few years.