Carolina Panthers

Details in Julius Peppers’ Panthers contract show what should motivate him

NFL star Julius Peppers' road back home

After seven years away from the Carolina Panthers, Peppers is returning home.
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After seven years away from the Carolina Panthers, Peppers is returning home.

The guy ranked No. 5 all-time in the NFL in sacks has a chance to cash in by racking up more of them this season in his return to the Carolina Panthers.

Julius Peppers’ one-year deal with the Panthers is worth $3.5 million, with sacks incentives that could push it to $4.25 million, according to a league source.

Peppers, who signed his contract Saturday, will collect an additional $250,000 if he finishes with seven sacks. The bonus increases to $500,000 for nine sacks, and Peppers will receive $750,000 if he reaches eleven sacks.

Peppers, 37, has finished with double-digit sacks in nine of his 15 seasons. The only year he’s posted fewer than seven sacks was 2007, when he had 2.5 in 14 games.

Peppers was not available to the media Saturday after finalizing his deal. He will wear No. 90, his jersey number during his first eight-year stint in Charlotte.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in a release he was thrilled to have Peppers back, calling him a “large part of the tradition and heritage of this franchise.”

Defensive line coach Eric Washington said he was excited to have a second chance to work with Peppers after coaching him with the Bears.

“He is a unique talent who continues to be a consistent factor and threat to make game-changing plays,” Washington said. “Julius is an exceptionally hard worker and conscientious about his approach to providing leadership by example.”

Peppers (6-7, 285) will begin this season with 143.5 sacks, most among active players and seven behind Chris Doleman for No. 4 on the all-time list.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson