The 3rd Man In

Packers add Peppers, more still needed

Draft and develop has always been the philosophy used by Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson, and rarely do fans see the Packers go out and sign an unrestricted free agent. Thompson did make one exception, signing eight-time Pro Bowler Julius Peppers this weekend.

Peppers, 34, has agreed to a three-year deal worth up to $30 million with $7.5 million in guaranteed money. The deal pays him $8.5 million in the first year.

This is the first significant move Thompson has made in free agency since he signed Charles Woodson in 2006.

The Chicago Bears released the defensive end last week after they thought he was too expensive to keep around. Now their division rival has picked him up, and while many wonder if he has anything left in the tank, this was an excellent move by the Green and Gold.

While he recorded his lowest sack total (7.0) since 2007 a year ago, he has had 29.5 sacks over the past three years with the Bears. Peppers is also very durable, as he has not missed a game since 2007.

The Packers’ defense ranked 25th in the NFL last season, and they have been searching for a defensive playmaker for years. Peppers fits the bill, and will take a lot of pressure off of Clay Matthews and the rest of the Packers defense.

Peppers is a nice addition to the Packers awful pass rush, but Green Bay still needs to add another pass rusher in order to really improve the defense. Signing another former division rival could solve the problem.

Former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is still sitting on the open market, and he would be a solid addition to the Packers roster. While he would not be an every down player in the 3-4 defensive scheme the Packers use, he would be a great player to throw in on passing downs.

Allen, 31, is coming off of an 11.5 sack season, and looking for a team that gives him a legitimate chance of winning.

With Aaron Rodgers behind center the Packers will always be a team who can compete, but without a solid defense, Green Bay does not have a chance at winning a Super Bowl.

Adding Peppers is a great addition to the Packers, and will provide their defense with another proven playmaker. However just adding Peppers will not be enough to take the defense to the next level, but if they add Allen, the Packers could very well be a favorite to win the Super Bowl next season.

Everyone should applaud Ted Thompson for finally signing a proven player in free agency, but fans should hope he is not done yet. Signing Jared Allen, to go along with the addition of Julius Peppers, is a move that needs to be done if the Packers want to improve their defense, and become a team that compete with the Seattle Seahawks on a yearly basis.

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