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Peppers will hit the open market

The Panthers do not intend to franchise the free agent. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This February 23, 2010, 07:33 AM EST

Julius Peppers is getting his wish.

The eight-year veteran out of North Carolina—who has spent his entire career with the Carolina Panthers—will not be franchised by the organization, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

According to Schefter, the official announcement is expected to come on Tuesday.

Peppers started 14 games for the Panthers in 2009, recording 42 tackles (36 solo), 10.5 sacks, two interceptions and five forced fumbles. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team for the fifth time in his career.

Had the Panthers elected to place the franchise tag on Peppers for the second-consecutive year, it would have cost the organization roughly $21.4 million in 2010.

The two-time All Pro defensive end was hit with the franchise tag during the 2009 offseason, which landed him a one-year salary worth $16.683 million. Carolina still has until 4:00pm eastern on Thursday to apply the franchise tag.

If Peppers does wind up hitting the open market, early speculation has linked him to the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns.

Don’t be surprised if the Atlanta Falcons get into the mix as well.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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