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Chicago Bears make a splash and sign Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor

Julius Peppers reached a six year deal with the Chicago Bears today. They were his first choice, although the Patriots, the Eagles, and the Seahawks all made a bid on his services. The deal is for 6 years at $12.5 million per year for a total of $75 million. The first three years are fully guaranteed (no signing bonus money though). One has to wonder if the broad terms weren't agreed to before free agency since reports out of Indianapolis were that Pepper's agent was meeting with coaches and GMs from the Bears at the combine. The Eagles and Pats were reportedly offering about $10 million per year.

By comparison Albert Haynesworth's deal was 7 years $100 million, but only $30 million of that was guaranteed and the rest is backloaded. Nate Clement's $80 million deal was 8 years $80 million but only $22.6 million guaranteed. The Bears have added an immediate impact player on their defense.

Peppers is one of two marquee defensive players hitting free agency. He's been a monster player on defense. He's been in the league for 9 seasons and has produced 10 or more sacks in 7 of those seasons. He'll provide an instant upgrade to that defense. Three more 10+ sack seasons will put him tied for third all-time with Kevin Greene. (Reggie White has 12 and Bruce Smith has 13). There's no reason to think that Peppers can't produce at a high level for anothe three or four years. If he can do that he'll own the top spot all-time for 10+ sacks.

He's been consistent enough over his career that it's very likely he could make that list.

Year Tackles Sacks Forced Fumbles
2009 42 10.5 5
2008 51


2007 30 2.5 3
2006 57 13 3
2005 50 10.5 2
2004 64 11 4
2003 44 7 3
2002 35 12 5

Chester Taylor has also found a new home. The Vikings wanted to keep him but they weren't willing to offer the deal he gets from Chicago which is a 4 year contract worth $12.5 million. The big kicker is that $7 million of that is guaranteed. That's a lot of money to pay a 3rd down, change of pace back, so maybe they're planning on using him as a featured starter. The good news for them is that he's got very little wear and tear on his body. He was only the feature back for one year (2006) and rushed for 1,216 yards and 6 TDs that year, with a 4 yard per carry attempt. So we know he's good for at least one season as the main back. His attempts each year have gone down dramatically and in 2009 he only carried the ball 94 times.