Panthers trading Ealy, signing Peppers worked better for them than for Patriots


Panthers trading Ealy, signing Peppers worked better for them than for Patriots

FOXBORO -- In hindsight, know who would have been a bomb-ass signing for the Patriots during the offseason? Julius Peppers. 

That’s not exactly an earth-shattering take, as the Patriots are no strangers to signing stars at the end of their careers and Peppers is still a damn good player. With the Patriots’ questions on defense, the failed Kony Ealy experiment -- which is directly tied to Peppers -- and Cassius Marsh still finding his way, the 37-year-old Peppers would look pretty good on the roster right about now. Oh well. 

After three years in Green, Peppers returned home to Carolina on a one-year, $3.5 million deal. It was a move that reunited the North Carolina native with the team that drafted him second overall in 2002, an organization with which the future Hall of Famer went to a Super Bowl and was a multiple-time All-Pro. 

Through three games back with the Panthers, Peppers has 2.5 sacks. He’s averaged 10 sacks a season since 2008 and hasn’t had fewer than seven in that span. The Pats will see him Sunday.

“He’s been very productive for Carolina, then up in the NFC North and then back in Carolina again,” Bill Belichick said Friday. “They’ve used him a little bit inside, but he’s not only good defensively, he’s very good at blocking kicks, he’s a great field goal rusher."

Added Belichick: “He’s long, he’s very athletic. In some schemes, I’m sure he could play linebacker, could play outside linebacker. You talk about that kind of athlete, for as big as he is, as athletic as he is.”

The Panthers had Ealy and chose to discard him in favor of signing the aging Peppers. Carolina traded the 25-year-old Ealy, whom they chose 60th overall in 2014, to the Pats in a trade that moved the Panthers up eight spots from the early third round to the late second. Ealy didn’t make it through training camp with the Pats, as he was released and picked up by the Jets. Safe to say the Panthers' decision to sign Peppers and deal Ealy has worked better for them than it has for the Pats. 

Welker: Brady's absence from voluntary work might've benefitted Patriots receivers

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Welker: Brady's absence from voluntary work might've benefitted Patriots receivers

BOSTON -- Wes Welker has been keeping up with his old team. He's a competitor now, in his second year as a Texans offensive and special teams assistant, but he's aware of what's happening with the Patriots.

He's aware that his buddy Tom Brady, the guy who threw Welker well over 800 passes in five seasons, opted not to take part in the voluntary workouts held at Gillette Stadium this spring.

And even though Welker is now a coach, even though one would assume all coaches carry the belief that all players should show up to all workouts whenever possible, he believes it wasn't a big deal for Brady to skip that which wasn't mandatory.

In fact, Welker believes Brady's absence may have actually benefitted the Patriots in some ways.


"He's got a family," Welker said Tuesday at the Leonard Hair Transplant Associates media day at the Battery Wharf Hotel. "He's got a wife who wants to take the family on vacation.

"What are you really teaching Tom Brady at this point? And, you know, if you're worried about him getting on the same page with the receivers, that's really why you would have coaches. The coaches are really able to emphasize with those guys what they want them to do.
It's a really good opportunity for those guys to play together without Tom and kind of figure it out."

Welker's insistence that spring workouts may not help Brady all that much is hard to argue. Brady is going into his 41-year-old season. He knows the offense. He's long been maniacal about keeping himself in good physical condition.

But because the entire Patriots organization has long touted spring work as critical -- as a time to lay the foundation for the rest of the year -- it's hard to believe that what happens in the spring is now gravy.

And for a player like Brady, who knows enough to be an effective teacher during what is commonly referred to as a "teaching camp," it would make sense that his presence at spring practices would be beneficial to others even if he personally doesn't gain much from it.

Welker, though, insisted. Brady's absence may have helped the players he'll be throwing to next week when training camp begins.

"I personally think so," he said. "It's got to get figured out somehow, and it can't always be him doing it."


Revis votes himself off the island, retires after 11 seasons

Revis votes himself off the island, retires after 11 seasons

After 11 seasons, Revis Island is officially closed.

Former Patriot cornerback Darrelle Revis announced his retirement from the NFL via Instagram on Wednesday, ending his career after 11 years with four teams, including two stints totaling eight seasons with the New York Jets.

"It has truly been an honor to showcase one of my greatest gifts to the world,” Revis wrote. “Today I am closing a chapter of my life that I once dreamed as a kid and I am officially retiring from the National Football League."

Revis, who turned 33 July 14, was a key member of New England’s Super Bowl XLIX winning team that beat the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. Last season, he appeared in six games for the Kansas City Chiefs, including the playoffs, before being released in February.

After being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2014, Revis signed a one-year deal worth $12 million to play in New England and earned first-team All-Pro honors in his only season in Foxboro. He then signed a five-year, $70 million contract to return to the Jets in March 2015.

While he won his lone championship in a Patriots uniform, Revis found most of his individual success playing for the Jets, who drafted the corner 14th overall out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2007.

A seven-time Pro Bowl and four-time First-team All-Pro selection, Revis’ ability to shut down opponents top receivers one-on-one earned him the “Revis Island” moniker.

Widely considered one of the greatest cornerbacks in NFL history, Revis finished his career with 29 interceptions, tied for 225th all-time, a testament to how much quarterbacks avoided throwing near him.