Peppers to Patriots almost seems unfair

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The New England Patriots have been one of the most stable and successful franchises of the salary-cap era. They've molded themselves into perennial winners.

Back in the days of Vince Lombardi or the Steel Curtain, teams gained supremacy and merely tweaked themselves as the years rolled past. Nowadays, daring transactions are required to maintain greatness.

Clubs often need to be willing to make dynamic moves that border on reconstruction.

The Patriots, who have gone 27-5 over the past two seasons, are reportedly on the verge of swinging one of those deals. NFL.com senior columnist Vic Carucci is reporting the Patriots are close to acquiring elite pass rusher Julius Peppers from the Carolina Panthers for a second-round draft pick.

Peppers, a defensive end for Carolina, has declared his desire to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. With New England, he would have the chance to perform on one of the best.

The draft pick would be the one the Patriots obtained from the Kansas City Chiefs in the trade that sent last year's starting quarterback Matt Cassel and heart-and-soul linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Patriots also have added running back Fred Taylor, receivers Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis, tight end Chris Baker and cornerbacks Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs.

Is all that legal?

These guys went 11-5 last year without Tom Brady, who's on his way back.

How good are the Patriots looking to you now?