Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Not a lot of people -- we're talking coaches, players and front-office staffs -- put much stock into the Pro Bowl. Maybe the Philadelphia Eagles should.
Coach Andy Reid and his staff have an advantage the rest of the league doesn't as they coach the NFC squad this week. They get to see Julius Peppers up close and that could be significant.
The Carolina defensive end could be available in free agency in a couple of weeks or he could be available via trade if the Panthers place the franchise tag on him. Peppers already has made it very clear he has no interest in staying in Carolina, where he's been since he was drafted in 2002.
There's a very real chance that someone else will make Peppers the highest-paid defensive player in the league. But shouldn't there at least be a little bit of caution about a guy who wants to leave a franchise that has made him its face? And shouldn't there be a lot of caution about a guy who had only 2.5 sacks and didn't look very enthusiastic in 2007?
Peppers is a wonderful talent, but any team that signs him to a huge contract should have an idea where his head and heart are truly at.
That's why this week could be a good thing for the Eagles. If they're at all interested in Peppers, they get a week to see him in practice, get to know him (at least as well as anyone will ever get to know Peppers) and get the real story from him on why he wants out of Carolina and what he wants in his next stop.
What the Eagles see might encourage them to make a play for Peppers. Or it might scare them off.
One other thought here, it seemed like Peppers sometimes resented the fact Carolina fans got down on him when he went a few games without a sack. If he thinks people in Charlotte were tough, he might want to do some research on what playing in Philadelphia would be like.