Peppers agrees to deal with Bears
UPDATED (5:52 p.m.)...
The Chicago Bears have reached a contract agreement with free agent defensive end Julius Peppers, according to multiple reports.
According to multiple reports, Peppers agreed to a six-year deal with the Bears worth about $80 million.
The Bears scheduled a news conference for 6 p.m. ET.
Bears Coach Lovie Smith reportedly traveled to North Carolina to accompany Peppers on his flight to Chicago for his visit Friday with the Bears.
Peppers was regarded as the top player available on the unrestricted free agent and the Bears quickly emerged as the top contender to sign him. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, it appeared likely that Peppers would sign a six-year contract with the Bears worth $12 million to $14 million per season.
There also were reports Friday that the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles made contract offers to Peppers.
Peppers reportedly rejected a contract offer from the Panthers in recent weeks worth about $14 million per season. The Panthers declined to use their franchise player tag to restrict his movement on the free agent market.
Peppers had 81 sacks in eight seasons with the Panthers and is regarded as one of the league's top pass rushers. He had 10-1/2 sacks last season.
The Bears made their second major acquisition in the last two offseasons. They traded for quarterback Jay Cutler last offseason, but that failed to pay major dividends last season. Now they are trying to upgrade their defense by signing Peppers. Their major moves this offseason had to come in free agency, given that they are without first- and second-round picks in the NFL draft.
The Bears also have agreed to a four-year, $12.5 million contract with free agent running back Chester Taylor, according to multiple reports. Taylor formerly was Adrian Peterson's backup with the Minnesota Vikings.
Earlier Friday, the Bears reportedly agreed to a five-year contract with free agent tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, formerly of the San Diego Chargers.
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