So much for the Green Bay Packers' lack of aggression in free agency.
The Packers have reached a three-year deal worth up to $30 million ($7.5 million guaranteed) with pass-rushing end Julius Peppers, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. Peppers had been a cap casualty of the rival Chicago Bears earlier in the week. The move saved the Bears more than $8 million for 2014.
Their loss apparently was Green Bay's gain. Packers GM Ted Thompson has a reputation for playing it very conservatively in free agency, to the point this offseason that some of his team's fans had begun to question the approach. The addition of Peppers changes the narrative -- the 34-year-old has lost a step or two but remains a dangerous defensive weapon, as evidenced by 30.5 sacks over the past three seasons (7.5 last year).
Peppers' role in Chicago was that of a traditional defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. Green Bay, which predominantly features 3-4 looks, will have to be more creative with him. He may be ticketed for an end position coupled with time as a stand-up rusher on passing downs.
Packers D-line coach Mike Trgovac should be able to help with the game plan. Trgovac was the defensive coordinator in Carolina for six of Peppers' eight seasons there.
In the twilight of his career, Peppers surely wanted to land with a contender for what may be his final contract. He's done so in one of the more fascinating moves of free agency . Grade: B. Peppers seemed to coast some last year during a disappointing season. I'd be willing to bet he cranks it up a few notches in 2014, especially against the Bears. Peppers and Clay Matthews blowing off the edge has to be a scary proposition for quarterbacks.