Please Register or Log in to Remove this Advertisement! I've been thinking about this quite a bit more tonight while I took a break in the action here and played some guitar for a couple of hours. A little pentatonic wankery always helps me relax and get the neurons fired up again. I wrote my thoughts in detail in the Peppers thread so I'll just summarize them here. I'm coming to the belief that Pep doesn't want to stay here for a lesser salary as opposed to playing for Lovie or maybe even for Chico back in Carolina again. That's where he's from and where he started his career and he was a Panther far longer than a Bear. So it's kind of a poker game right now ergo Phil's response that when it's time to deal with it'll be dealt with. Well if a salary reduction was in he offing now might be a good time to get that done but we haven't even heard a whisper of a rumor about it from anyone. Both sides hold winning hands though so in the terms of Hold 'Em that I understand it called a bad beat. If Pep won't accept a salary cut he knows Emery has to let him go eventually and then he can go wherever he wants to and probably get similar money. That's his hand and it's the eventual winner. Emery's hand is a winner at the moment because he can sit back and do nothing and just keep Pep until he finds his replacement in FA or the draft or maybe even work out a trade for him to get a pick or two if Pep agrees to a new deal with that team. So right now Pep has some value to him in several ways and he's trying to get as much mileage out of it as he can before he finally has to fold his hand on or after June 1. It's only a guess but the circumstances surrounding it all seem to fit. So if Phil knows he eventually has to fold his hand how does he replace Pep? Bennett isn't really a RDE he's a LDE and a guy who can rotate to DT on passing downs so he's more of Wootton's replacement than Peps and knowing Emery and the Martellus connection he may be ready to take a real shot at him but not to replace Pep because he really can't. You're right about the draft in that after Clowney the talent at 4-3 DE drops off considerably. Ealy is the only other 4-3 DE who even comes close to a 1st round ranking. He's now fallen back to the back end of round one as maybe a 25-30 pick and both he and Hageman may both be more LDE guys than RDE guys too. Besides as I stands today there's no way you'd take him over Donald or Jernigan and maybe even a few other defensive player who aren't DLinemen. So even if he opens the checkbook for Bennett he still needs a RDE who'll play for around $5 mil or even less and it needs to be a guy who can rush and create pressure. Enter Jared Allen on another of Phil's one year deals if he can get him for that although he may have to stretch it to two to get it done. Allen is two years younger than Pep and can still create some havoc as a pass rusher and once again they can platoon him a bit just like they'd need to do with Pep. Now you have your starting DEs and still have Bass and Washington signed plus the draft to add a guy in the middle rounds and see what you can get out of him in another year or two. The $14 mil cap savings from releasing Pep covers both of them and probably leaves some left over. If they can sign Melton at DT fine but for what I think he's gonna ask for I'd take my chances with the rookie Donald if I can get him and make sure I sign Collins and Ratliff or someone whose at least their equals and you have your four man DT rotation and Bennett who can move inside to DT if and when needed. I have no idea at all whether this could work or if they're even thinking along these lines but cap wise it will work and even cash wise it will work if they can get both Bennett and Allen for fair market value. If they draft a rookie to replace Melton there's another pretty good chunk of change that can be saved and may be enough to sign the vet Safety they also need. There's a lot of IFs here and a few holes in it as well but from a perspective of solving whatever problems I perceive are there this seems to work if these players can be had and we can draft right this time. It may be a little out of the box but not too far I think.