There is little doubt that if the Broncos are going to take a quantum leap forward defensively in 2009 they are going to have to do it with the help of free agents. With the arrival of Josh McDaniels and Mike Nolan, two proponents of the 3-4 defense, it is quite possible the Broncos will go back to the defense they made popular in the 70's with the Orange Crush.
Those two ideas are what make the comments of Carl Carey, the agent for Free Agent to-be Julius Peppers all the more interesting to Broncos fans.
He loves the state of North Carolina. His family is there. The easier situation for him would be to stay in Carolina," Carey said Saturday. "But the decision that he faced was, do I stay in Carolina and perhaps never reach my full potential? Or do I open myself to the possibilities to finish my career elsewhere? He chose the latter."
Carey said Peppers wants to play in a 3-4 defense. The Panthers use a 4-3 alignment.
"He certainly feels that he can excel and thrive in a 3-4 defense," Carey said. "He is also open to just another system in general that will allow him to maximize his athletic abilities."
Peppers is staring a franchise tag straight in the face and, like most players, wants to avoid it at all costs. Few, however, go public so soon and with the type of mindset the Peppers camp is using. Not only is Peppers trying to say he wants out of Carolina, he is saying he wants out of the entire defensive scheme.
That leaves the Panthers in a bind. Franchise Peppers, and they are risking $16.7 million on a player that doesn;t want to play for them. They could do it to try and work a trade, but again, it is a huge financial risk.
For the record, Peppers himself has also been quoted as wanting out of Carolina.
I am seeking new challenges that will allow me to grow, develop and reach my personal potential on the football field," Peppers said. "I strongly feel that making a move at this time is in my best interest. I appreciate the entire Panthers' organization and am thankful for the seven seasons I've spent with the team.
Sounds like a guy who has closed the book to me. That leaves the Broncos is an interesting position. Peppers is looking for new challenges in a defense he feels suits him and will let him reach his full potential. The Broncos are looking for a face of a defense that was on of the worst in it's 48 year history and seems ready and willing to move to that defense, with coaches who have had success running it. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
There is risk involved for the Broncos, to be sure, but the Broncos need to make a splash this off-season and they need to improve the talent on the defensive side of the ball. Peppers is one of the big names out there and would do both for the Broncos. There is a long way to go, and alot of ways this could play out. Below are Peppers numbers. Would you take the chance?