The Green Bay Packers defense has gotten a big jolt from a big name: Eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers.
The ex-Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears defensive end signed a three-year deal with the Packers on Saturday, bringing one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers to a team that has historically avoided major free-agent splashes. The move was first reported by ESPN. Peppers’ agent, Carl Carey, posted photos to his Twitter account of Peppers signing the deal.
“I haven’t won a championship,” Peppers told the Packers’ website. “That’s where my focus is. I feel like the team is set up to make a run and I feel I can help get it there.”
Peppers, 34, went to the Super Bowl in 2003 with the Panthers, losing to the New England Patriots.
He was released Tuesday by the Bears in a cost-cutting move. Peppers would have counted $18.183 million against Chicago’s salary cap this season and had a base salary of $13 million.
Peppers played in all 64 of the Bears’ games the past four seasons, posting 37.5 sacks.
Raiders keep Young
The Raiders agreed Saturday on a two-year deal to keep free-agent safety Usama Young after an injury-shortened first year in Oakland.
Oakland also formally announced that running back Darren McFadden signed his one-year contract to return to the team.
Young joined Oakland last season on a one-year deal with expectations to become the starting free safety. But a little more than a month after signing Young, the Raiders signed Charles Woodson to a one-year deal to fill that spot. Young, who played two years with the Browns before joining Oakland, had eight interceptions, five sacks and 25 passes defensed in 2013.
Young is the fifth defensive player signed so far in free agency by the Raiders, joining defensive linemen Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley and Antonio Smith and cornerback Tarell Brown.
Dixon teams with Bills
Running back Anthony Dixon is looking forward to carving a role for himself in Buffalo’s talented backfield and teaming up with Buffalo’s most significant free-agent addition, linebacker Brandon Spikes. Both players agreed to terms on free-agent deals with the Bills.
‘‘Last night, I was telling him I was coming and we need leaders, you need to come,” Dixon said on a conference call Saturday.
The Bills finished 28th in the league against the run in 2013, allowing an average of 128.9 yards rushing per game. The defense is undergoing a transition under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who is taking over for Mike Pettine.
Pettine left Buffalo after one season to become coach of the Browns.
Around the league
The Carolina Panthers agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Saints free agent safety Roman Harper. Harper is expected to fill the void left by Mike Mitchell, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. ... Blaine Gabbert officially joined the San Francisco 49ers after being traded by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He joins former Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and former Vikings cornerback Chris Cook on the team. ... Former 49ers starting cornerback Tracy Porter signed with the Washington Redskins. ... The Raiders played host to left tackle Donald Penn, a veteran of 112 games and 108 starts. Penn, due $6.25 million this year from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was released after the club signed Anthony Collins to play left tackle. Another tackle who was set to visit the Raiders on Saturday, Michael Oher (Baltimore Ravens), signed a four-year contract with the Tennessee Titans worth $20 million. ... The Bucs signed former Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith. He started every game for the Packers last season and should step into the middle of Tampa Bay’s rebuilt line. ... Zach Miller will stay with the Seahawks after the tight end agreed to restructure his contract in an effort to free up salary cap room. ... Former Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks agreed to a one-year deal with Indianapolis Colts. ... Veteran cornerback Charles Tillman re-signed with Chicago. The Bucs re-signed Jamon MereÂdith and are pleased with the progress of Carl Nicks, who missed nearly all of last season with a MRSA staph infection. ... Ex- Denver Broncos receiver Eric Decker signed with the New York Jets. “I’d say the New York Jets gave me the most respect,” he said. The Jets also signed ex-Seahawks right tackle Breno Giacomini.