The Chicago Bears appear to be noncommittal regarding the future of defensive end Julius Peppers, who led the team with 7.5 sacks in 2013, but didn’t perform at his typically dominant clip. Set to count $18.183 million against the team’s cap in 2013, Peppers could be asked to restructure his deal to clear some space. But it’s worth noting that prior to announcing deals Thursday for quarterback Jay Cutler, cornerback Tim Jennings and guard Matt Slauson, the Bears had $80,313,001 committed to the 2013 cap, which ranked as second lowest in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Also, the club remains in the process of performing a self evaluation, a process that involves assessment of every player on the roster. “I’m not going to get into contracts,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said. “He’s under contract. Julius had an 8-8 year like all of us, like I did, and that’s where he’s at.” Peppers, who turns 34 on Jan. 18, has already restructured his contract twice since joining the Bears. In September, the Bears converted $3 million of Peppers’ base salary ($12.9 million) for 2013 into a signing bonus ($3 million), which reduced his base salary to $9.9 million. The move created $2 million in salary-cap space for the Bears, and reduced the defensive end’s cap charge from $16.387 million in 2013 to $14.387 million. That move created only temporary relief. With the restructured deal, Peppers’ cap numbers over the final two years of his contract rise. For instance, in 2014, when Peppers’ cap number was previously $17.183 million, but increased to $18.183 million. In 2015, Peppers’ cap number grows to $20.683 million.
Bears mum on Julius Peppers' future
ESPN Chicago | Jan 3