ESPN's Adam Schefter just cited "mounting evidence," that the Panthers wouldn't tag Peppers, potentially making tonight's Pro Bowl his final appearance as a Panther.
The Panthers haven't made any declarations at the moment. They have until Feb. 25 to use the tag. But they might have decided they can't afford to risk Peppers accepting their offer quickly this time.
Last year, he dragged his feet until June to sign the tender, meaning he didn't have to show up for minicamp or offseason work. This year, he might decide that's a small inconvenience to collect a guaranteed $20 million plus.
And the Panthers might decide there are better ways to spend $20 million to upgrade the team.
If that's the way they go, last year's decision to not entertain trade offers will stand as squandering an asset. The decision to tag him to keep him was made with the mindset of keeping together a good team. Didn't work out, for many reasons.
I said all offseason that tagging him to keep him was a significant risk, since no non-quarterback is worth sinking an eighth of your salary cap into, since they can't impact every game.
But not tagging him at all this year and letting him walk would simply usher in a new era here, one in which the first order of business is making up for a significant mistake.