One of the biggest potential names in free agency will be Carolina pass rusher Julius Peppers. Let’s look at some possible matches in the division:
Denver: Peppers is open to being a linebacker in a 3-4 defense. If Denver doesn’t keep likely restricted free agent Elvis Dumervil, there will be a big need for a pass rusher. But Dumervil, who led the NFL in sacks in 2009 with 17, is in his prime and is four years younger than the 30-year-old Peppers.
Kansas City: This could be a good fit. But I’m not sure Peppers would be interested in being part of a rebuilding project. Still, the Chiefs may have the money to make it work. Kansas City stayed away from high-profile free agents last season in Scott Pioli’s first year in town. But Peppers could create havoc as part of Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 defense and he’d take pressure off the Chiefs’ young defensive front. He’d make this team better in a hurry.
Oakland: The Raiders are the only defense in the division not to run a 3-4. While Peppers can play in any scheme, I don’t really see this being a great fit since Oakland has some solid, young pass rushers. This is the least likely spot in the division for Peppers.
San Diego: The Chargers do not have a recent history of pursuing big-ticket free agents and the team has a lot of pass rushers. Larry English was drafted last year in case Shawne Merriman leaves. Peppers would flourish if he were to end up in San Diego, but a lot would have to happen for that scenario to play out.