As long as the Bears need defensive line help, Julius Peppers will remain part of the conversation, as unlikely as Peppers coming to Chicago might be.
A league source told profootballtalk.com that the Panthers don't plan to use the franchise tag on Peppers because it would mean the team would have to tender him $21.8 million for the 2010 season, or $1.326 million per game. Putting the transition tag on Peppers would put Carolina in the same situation.
That means that if Peppers does walk away from the Panthers after eight years the team won't receive compensation, although not having to cough up $21.8 million might be viewed as compensation enough.
Peppers will never get that much on the open market but he's still the great white whale of free agency. The Bears are desperate. General manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith know their jobs are on the line next season and therefore may be willing to go to extremes, but having so much money tied up in two defensive players --- Brian Urlacher's cap number is $10.32 million --- may not be the best idea.