Julius Peppers was the centerpiece of the resurgence of the Carolina Panthers in 2002. He was what they built around, when quarterbacks were what the league felt they needed (they got theirs at a cheaper rate). He wasn't always their motive power - for such a dominating presence he was streaky, regardless of the debates over his effort.
When it was time to re-sign, Peppers showed that same inconsistency. Not unlike Kris Jenkins, Peppers felt he could do better things elsewhere, and that Charlotte just wasn't a big enough town. Maybe there were problems with coaching, maybe not. Maybe there were motivational issues with the player, maybe not.
But in the end, with the franchise potentially on the line, Carolina did all it could, and in true fashion, Peppers didn't. Even if Peppers only wanted out, and had no intent on staying, don't harm that ideal. Instead, the quietest 6'7 football player ever made decided to switch roles, and hurt our cause, if not his. So with our options limited (to Peppers' legendary 'four teams'), with the CBA termination looming, and with
Maybe Carolina should've traded him, taken something for their effort and taking the power in their relationship with their franchise player. Now, it's easy to say to cash in the chips and move forward, but it's hard to say what would happen in 2009. After the way things laid out with Peppers, it's clear Carolina had faith in keeping him, but that after July 2009 they knew they had no way of doing so.
So they didn't call him. They also didn't trash him in the media, they didn't make demands of him. They allowed him what he wanted and yet he's still the unhappy one.