SOMEWHERE ON I-26 BETWEEN COLUMBIA AND CHARLESTON — The agent for Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers said Saturday morning that no matter what the team decides, his client has moved on.
Agent Carl Carey said that he anticipates the Panthers will try to use the franchise tag to retain some leverage in these talks. But that would mean a $17 million payout for one year, and one year only.
“They’re in a dilemma because of the number they have to pay,” Carey said Saturday morning. “They have to decide whether to pay Julius this astronomical number for one season — realizing he will not sign a long-term deal, now or in the future.”
Carey said Peppers primary desire was to go to a place where his unique talents would be better utilized. He thanked the Panthers for moving him to right defensive end this year, from where he responded with a career-high 14.5 sacks.
But Carey said there’s a specific desire to play in a 3-4 system, where he could stand up as an outside linebacker and roam the field making plays, like a DeMarcus Ware or a Shawne Merriman.
“His preference at this point is to be in a 3-4,” Carey said. “Right now, it’s about trying it a different way.”
Carey said he met with Panthers general manager Marty Hurney in Houston Thursday night, a two-hour conversation in which he made clear his wishes.
Carey wouldn’t specify preferred destinations, saying Peppers had “a handful” of places in mind he’d like to go.