Report: $6 million separated Peppers, Panthers

Only $6 million separated Julius Peppers and the Carolina Panthers from a longterm extension last summer.

Easy for us to say, but that was the difference between the parties, Peppers told Charles Chandler of the Charlotte Observer on Saturday, 24 hours after the Chicago Bears showed him the money with a $91.5 million, six-year contract.

The Panthers had offered Peppers a $54 million, four-year extension last summer after he had been locked down for 2009 with the franchise tag. Peppers wanted $60 million over four years. The difference led to their parting at the end of the season.

"My feeling is they could have done that," Peppers told Chandler. "If they wanted me to stay, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal.

"It wasn't me who chose to leave. At the end of the day, I made the final decision to leave, but it's not like I was closed-minded. I was open to staying. I'm not trying to place blame solely on them, though. Both sides could've done things differently to make things work out another way."

After this past season concluded, Peppers never heard from the Panthers.

"It wasn't really about the numbers," Peppers said. "The thing was it's like there was no incentive to take the deal - for a lot of different reasons, personal reasons that would take days to explain."

No explanation is needed for why he joined the Bears. The contract says it all.

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