First, let me say I have zero proof of any Peppers talks or if discussions have heated up ever since Jason Taylor decided to hang in Miami. Nada, zilch, zippo. Prior to the draft, we blogged the heck out of the possibility that JP may end up in Foxboro. Julius proclaimed his desire to get out of Carolina and move to OLB. While a 4-3 DE with his talent and experience could, most likely, easily slip into OLB in our 3-4, money was a serious issue.
Then came the draft. After mocking this thing like crazy and picking OLBs left and right, I was certain Bill and I had a telepathic connection and he truly recognized my genius. I was not alone, however. Most every Patriots fan, NFL fan, and analyst felt the same way, too. It hurts to say this, but Vrabel lost a step in 2008. His value was clearly as a mentor, hence the reason he ended up in KC with Cassel. Given we just lost Vrabel, Adalius Thomas was a bit of a question mark along with Pierre Woods, and Shawn Crable had yet to play a down in the regular season, it was obvious Belichick would go after an OLB, right? Wrong.
A lot can happen between now and September. The Patriots are currently carrying 92 players on the roster; 39 need to go. That means two things: a) we free up cash and b) other teams are carrying that many players, too. Any number of moves could be made during that timeframe and I wouldn't put it past the Patriots to be scouring the waiver wire 24x7; Nick Caserio admitted as much:
"I think we’ve got players on our team that we feel good about, between A.D. [Adalius Thomas], Pierre [Woods], we signed Tully Banta-Cain, Shawn Crable didn’t have an opportunity to play last year ... " he said, before noting that things could always change because the team doesn't play a game until September.
If the money can be figured out, Peppers is an option. This would give the Patriots the pass rush we really need and pair a standout defense with an already loaded-for-battle offense. Going into the draft, teams have no idea what the money situation will be. Belichick and crew did a masterful job of not reaching; they waited for players to hit the second round and then struck picking up guys like Chung and Butler. That's some serious mojo. As contracts get signed and money situations are known, we could leave enough on the table to take care of Julius Peppers.
Can you imagine the pass rush...