Peppers Signs $16.7 Million Tender With Panthers

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Julius Peppers' long stalemate with the Carolina Panthers is over.

The four-time Pro Bowl defensive end signed his one-year, $16.7 million tender under the franchise tag Wednesday, ending the chances that Peppers could hold out at the start of training camp.

Peppers said at the end of last season that he wanted to play elsewhere and pleaded with Carolina to allow him to become a free agent. The Panthers still placed the franchise tag on him, limiting his movement.

Peppers refused to attend offseason minicamps and optional workouts, and there were concerns he wouldn't show up for training camp. But by signing the deal, the Panthers likely are assured of his attendance when players report Aug. 2.

"Julius is more than satisfied with the outcome and is looking forward instead of backward," Peppers' agent, Carl Carey, said. "He is motivated. He's prepared and he's ready to play football."

Carey said the Panthers made no promise that they won't place the franchise tag on him again next season. General manager Marty Hurney said signing the tender does not mean they'll now try to trade Peppers.

On top of the $16.7 million in guaranteed money, Peppers could earn another $1.5 million if he makes the Pro Bowl and up to $1 million based on playoff bonuses, giving him one of the highest single-year contracts in NFL history.

Peppers, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 draft, had a career-high 14½ sacks last season. After missing all offseason workouts, he'll have to catch up on new defensive coordinator Ron Meeks' system.

"We have had very good communication with Carl throughout the process and all the indications were that Julius was going top sign in time to be in for training camp," Hurney said. "That's what happened today. Obviously we're very excited and I think Julius is excited."