He is scheduled to be the Bears' highest-paid player in 2013 with a salary of $12.9 million and a cap number of $16.3 million. Would the Bears think about cutting the 32-year-old if they changed to a 3-4 defense and coaches thought he could not transition well? Cutting Peppers seems like a stretch. It would save the Bears money, but it would leave a messy salary-cap situation. If the Bears cut Peppers before June 1, he would count $9.5 million against their 2013 cap. If they cut him after June 1, he would count $3.18 million against the 2013 cap and $6.36 million against the 2014 cap. There also is a "June 1 designation" they could use to cut him before that date and push off $6.36 million to 2014, but to do that, they would have to carry his $16.3 million cap number until June 1, which would limit their offseason flexibility. And if Peppers plays in 2013 like he did in 2012, he would bring real value to the defense. Peppers finished the season with 11 1/2 sacks, the fourth-highest total among defensive ends. He appeared to be bothered by plantar fasciitis for part of the season, and he hit a lull in November when he had only one sack over a four-game period. But he came on strong late.
Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune
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