INDIANAPOLIS — Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers is slated to count a whopping $18 million against the salary cap next season and is coming off a sub-par season, which has led to widespread speculation that Peppers will be cut prior to the start of the league year March 11.
Bears head coach Marc Trestman and GM Phil Emery dodged questions about Peppers' future, and both fell back on familiar themes — namely that Peppers, like many of the 8-8 Bears, had an up-and-down season.
Still, Trestman said Peppers was an important player on the team.
"Julius Peppers is under contract, and he's been very important to our football team," Trestman said. "I don't think anything more needs to be said."
But it does. The Bears would free up tons of space from Peppers' unwieldy contract, which was not commensurate with his level of tailed-off play. Emery gave a similarly noncommittal answer on Peppers' future with the team.
"Julius is on our football team," Emery said. "He's under contract. We're coming off an 8-8 season. We have a lot to evaluate. That's where our heads [are] at."
The more Trestman and Emery give flat-line responses on Peppers, the more we reenforce our ideas that he'll be on another team's roster next season, despite Trestman's "important" claim.
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