Phunny, I understand your man-love for Peppers, but I don't think he's as good as he used to be. People have questioned his work ethic and motor, so how will he react after getting paid? Nobody knows. I've seen him completely disappear in some games, so I wonder if he truly loves the game and whether he will continue to produce. It could turn out to be a great signing by the Bears, or it could become an epic fail. Time will tell, but I don't feel he's worth what he got.
With that said, you're probably right about his contract. He'll get atleast $40M or $42M in the first three years, but it sounds like he has incentives which could push that total higher. I also wouldn't be surprised if he has a big option bonus due in 2013 which will determine whether he stays or goes either.
I understand the concerns about Peppers reputation for taking plays off, so I want to clarify a few points. I wouldn't say I have "man-love" for him, because I do believe he has his flaws. And I also don't believe that any 1 player is going to turn this team into a playoff team.
But here are the frustrations I have.
#1.... Most of you know I'm not big on paying any 1 individual a ton of money.... unless he plays a KEY position (QB, LT, DE, CB) and is a TOP notch player at THAT position. Players at these positions get paid premium money. They get the franchise tag in almost all cases. You almost always have to draft the elite guys. We hopefully have our "franchise" QB, but we still don't have a franchise OLT, DE, or CB. Barring a trade down.... we may not get one 1 in the 1st round this year.
That is why I saw this as a golden opportunity to get Peppers.
If we wait to draft all of our "impact" players over the next 2-3 years, guys like Calvin may be ready to jump ship to go to a winning team.... or they'll have to overpay them on a long-term deal to get them to stay. That is how teams get into salary cap troubles as well.
#2.... Taking plays off.
As much as Peppers is criticized for taking snaps off, he also doesn't receive much attention for the double teams he faces frequently. Carolina didn't have ANY other lineman that demanded attention last year, and Peppers still got >10 sacks. But we still don't know if KVB can get >10 sacks IF he isn't lined up next to Haynesworth. KVB is a DLE also, so he was up against the slower OTs. Peppers can play both RDE & LDE... which also adds to his value.
#3.... Injury history.
Some may say Peppers has been "lucky" to not have any big injuries so far. I don't buy it. There are often guys who are naturally physically dominant, perhaps more flexible in their joints, and get hurt less.
There are also guys who have to work very hard to bulk up, may be less flexible, and get hurt more. I am one of those guys, and I have to stretch like crazy or I have trouble with muscle strains. My hips/hamstrings are not naturally flexible. Is KVB one of them? He has 2 ACL repairs and a groin pull that cost him 6 games in his pro career.
I respect KVB and he is truly an upgrade.... if he stays on the field.
Peppers got what amounts to a 3 year deal that is front loaded in the 1st year... I don't see much risk!!!
There is very little risk with the salary cap in this deal, especially when you consider what you have to pay a pro-bowl caliber RDE.
#5.... The Bears did not make a "desparate" move.
For the reasons mentioned above, Peppers deal is not out of line with the top RDEs in the NFL. Allen, Ware, Freeney, and even Will Smith have comparable deals.
Will Smith had 1 season of >10 sacks in his first 4 seasons, yet he got 6 years at $70 million, $26 mill guaranteed when he signed in 2008.
Peppers got the market price... and nothing more.... and they can walk away from him in 3 years!