Thompson deserves much praise for signing Peppers
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor
~They tell me free agency is risky.
I wonder if taking Justin Harrell in round one was risky, or Jerel Worthy, Brian Brohm, or Pat Lee in round two were risky. Or Aaron Rouse and Alex Green in round three, or Jerron McMillian in round four, and Terrell Manning in round five.
McMillian was supposed to be the starter at safety, given to Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers to work with. He was a bust as he was released less than two years into his Packers’ tenure. Same with Manning, also from that 2012 Draft Class that started with Nick Perry and Worthy in the first two rounds.
Adding a proven, veteran like Julius Peppers is far less risky than relying on any collegiate players, despite Peppers’ age. And that includes first round picks like Tony Mandarich and Justin Harrell.
Peppers is past his prime. At age 34, that’s no shock.
But he’s a fresh 34, and hasn’t missed a game since 2007. Now being on the Packers with their injury/training/strength & conditioning problem, that is going to be a challenge.
But his health is a lot better than DeMarcus Ware, who was signed to a bigger contract by Denver earlier this week (real, guaranteed dollars). Ware might be younger, but he has questions about his elbow and neck and he’s missed more time recently than Peppers ever has.
Peppers is older than Reggie White and Charles Woodson were when they were added to the Packers. But like those two, he is a unique, special athlete. He’s a rare talent.
He’s also a high character guy, who plays nicked up, and he’s hungry. He wants a ring: “That’s the most important thing. I haven’t won a championship. That’s where my focus is. I feel like the team is set up to make a run and I feel I can help get it there,” Peppers said via the Packers.com website.
The Packers may or may not return to the Super Bowl this season. Peppers may not play all 16 games as a Packer. He may not have 10+ sacks.
But he will add more right away than DE Datone Jones did last year as a first round rookie. And Jones might yet become a great player.
Factoring in the financials, this was an “A-” grade move for Thompson.