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Julius Peppers' cloudy future with the Panthers

Updated: January 31, 2010, 3:56 PM ET
By Adam Schefter

With evidence quickly mounting that Carolina does not plan to tag or keep him, Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is on the verge of becoming one of the most high-profile free agents since Reggie White in 1993.

This year, unlike other years, the Panthers and Peppers have not engaged in any talks about a long-term contract extension, according to league sources. Carolina is not expected to slap its franchise tag on him, not with the cost of it being over $20 million.

"That's definitely true," said one NFL source with knowledge of the Panthers' thinking. "Their owner [Jerry Richardson] has told people they're not planning to keep him."

A Panthers official insisted this week they've made no decision about Peppers and his future. The Panthers said they soon will be talking with Peppers' agent, Carl Carey.

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