Nervous? A couple of days ago I wrote a column in the Herald basically saying the New England Patriots, which finished behind the Dolphins in the AFC East race last season, had pulled ahead of the Dolphins this offseason.
And think what you will about that opinion, but it would be hard for anyone to argue the Patriots wouldn't be greatly and significantly improved on defense, their team weakness, if someone the caliber of a Julius Peppers were to join them. Yet, NFL.com is reporting the Patriots appear to be on the verge of trading for Peppers.
That report fails to note that Peppers has not signed the exclusive rights franchise tag tender the Panthers hung on him several weeks ago. And the Panthers cannot speak with Patriots about such a deal unless that tender is signed. So The Charlotte Observer is reporting the teams have not talked.
But that doesn't mean Peppers' agent and the Patriots cannot talk. And the NFL.com report indeed suggests trade parameters have been worked out, with New England sending Carolina the No. 34 overall pick in the draft, the second-round pick it got from Kansas City for Matt Cassel, in exchange for Peppers.
If this is true, it has to be a tremendous bummer for everyone in the AFC East not named the
Look, Vic Carucci, who wrote the story for NFL.com, is an excellent reporter with good contacts. So it is right to believe that where there is smoke, there may be fire. And nowhere have you heard either team deny the story outright.
So you should consider this a very serious possibility. It is not a certainty. But it is possible.
And what, you should ask as tears roll down your face, would Peppers do for the Patriots?
He would instantly improve their questionable pass rush. Think Jason Taylor with the Dolphins circa 2006. Remember that year? The Dolphins used Taylor as a hybrid linebacker, pass rusher, and tormentor of offenses.
The Patriots would likely do the same with Peppers. I remember Nick Saban practically salavating at the thought of having a Peppers in his defensive scheme. When the Dolphins had the No. 2 overall selection in 2005, Saban told me if Peppers, who was drafted second overall in 2002, were available to him, he'd be, "jumping around celebrating." Those were his words.
It stands to reason Saban mentor Bill Belichick will see the same possibilities with Peppers as his disciple saw.
Like I said before, bummer.