Biggs: Ogunleye figures Bears pursue Peppers
Adewale Ogunleye is nine days away from entering the market as an unrestricted free agent and he figures, at this point, that the Chicago Bears will be making a run at Julius Peppers to replace him as the left end on what has been an underperforming defensive line.
Ogunleye, who the Bears traded for six years ago when Lovie Smith arrived as coach, could potentially return to the Bears. But he’s not at the top of the team’s target list and Ogunleye probably isn’t a player who will be scopped up in the flurry that is the first 24 to 36 hours of free agency.
"Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if they made a run at him,' Ogunleye told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. "Peppers would make any team better.'
But Peppers is going to require a massive contract and the Bears traditionally have shied away from the biggest prizes in free agency. General manager Jerry Angelo has long said that the team will not set the bar when it comes to contracts. But Angelo and Smith are backed into a corner right now as the team has failed to make the playoffs the last three seasons and is under .500 since appearing in Super Bowl XLI.
A dominant pass rusher is easily the greatest need for a slumping defense with a number of holes, including a significant problem in the secondary at safety.
"I think they could go after Peppers, but the dynamics of that ... because Alex is a right end and Peppers likes to play the majority on the right side, it would kind of mess up the dynamics of what they have already,' Ogunleye said. "Unless Alex would be ready to move over to the left side -- which I'm sure he would do because he's a team player -- but the left side is no joke.
"I think they would probably want to get a guy who rushes more primarily on that left side and who plays the run better than most.'
Thing is, Peppers has played plenty of left end before, as McClure notes, and at the price the Bears would have to pay to get him, he’d probably be willing to do anything. Stay tuned.
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