Green Bay Packers fans got a great, big surprise package when they woke up Saturday morning: Eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers has signed with the team as a free agent.

The deal was first reported by ESPN's Josina Anderson. Peppers' agent, Carl Carey, later Tweeted the news and posted a photo of Peppers inside Lambeau Field on Twitter.

The 34-year-old Peppers comes to the Packers after a four-year stint with the Chicago Bears and is the first major free-agent signing by general manager Ted Thompson, whose inactivity in the free agent market had made many Packers fans restless after players hit the open market earlier in the week.

Peppers signed a three-year contract with up to $30 million, according to ESPN. The deal calls for $7.5 million in guaranteed money and will pay Peppers $8.5 million in salary for the first year, Carey told ESPN's Anderson.

The Bears released Peppers earlier this week. Peppers' decision to sign with Green Bay means he will once again work with Mike Trgovac, the team's defensive line coach who was with the Carolina Panthers and served as Peppers' position coach in 2002 and the team's defensive coordinator from 2003 through 2008.

The Packers would not make Peppers available to media.

"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 went to the Super Bowl in 2003 with the Panthers, losing to the New England Patriots.

The 34-year-old Peppers 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. His 7.5 sacks last season were his fewest since a career-low 2.5 sacks in 2007, but he still would have led the Packers in that category in 2012.

Material from the Chicago Tribune via MCT Information Services was included in this report.

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(16) comments

Jocks
Jocks

It says something about your defense when you sign a 34 year old pass rusher that's probably better than any of the 24 year old slugs on the team.

Honorary Kentucky Colonel
Honorary Kentucky Colonel

Reggie White turned 32 in december of his 1st year as a Packer, but he played in two Super Bowls at age 35 & 36.

Everyone's been lambasting TT to dip his toe in Free Agency, he does what they want him to and what happens?

Peppers is 6' 7" with a huge wingspan AND he's been playing for the Bears for cryin' out loud.

He's now with a winning organization and a good coaching staff, or at least a serious upgrade from the one he's leaving behind.

Most everyone I know was savaging TT for signing Woodson, who had acquired a reputation as a brooder that NO ONE wanted.

But Green Bay gave him a shot and it didn't turn out so bad, did it? Gilbert Brown resurrected his career in Title Town, and there have been others.

This is a win-win for the doubters; Peppers either elevates a unit that desperately needs elevating or you get to play "I TOLD you so."

Go Packers!

Harvey
Harvey

Not that impressed given he is 34. Woodson was 29 when they signed him. Reggie White was 32.

Honorary Kentucky Colonel
Honorary Kentucky Colonel

Probably the reason the Bears didn't re-sign him is because they opened the vault (in typically dysfunctional Bears fashion) to retain Cryin' Jay Culter.

Don't get me wrong, I myself consider that a great Bears personnel move and would have kicked in a little to help continue Cutler's nearly perfect record against the Packers.

Heh; how badly do you think Peppers is looking forward to smacking # 6 this fall?

XLBadger
XLBadger

Reggie White immediately comes to mind ... another "game changer" player ... Go Pack!!

Harvey
Harvey

Reggie White was better and younger when he signed.

WArich
WArich

Trgovac was his coach as a rookie, he would knowif he still looks good.

retired
retired

This will be a grt. fit. Between him and Matthews, grt. for the defense. Now how bout Heister ?

adamman
adamman

Great. Now we need to get Jared Allen and Champ Bailey.

JakeWeery
JakeWeery

Landing Jared Allen would be a coup simply because he's been a major Packer nemesis for years. Whether he could be effective in Capers' 3-4 scheme is a different story, and would probably make him too risky of a gamble for the money he'll want.

Honorary Kentucky Colonel
Honorary Kentucky Colonel

JakeWeery;

"Whether he could be effective in Capers' 3-4 scheme is a different story..."

VERY astute observation, though why would anyone, least of all me, have cause to think otherwise.

What about Peppers; they're both edge rushers, right?

Recall Aaron Kampman, a good midwestern Iowa kid. Like Jordy Nelson & James Jones, he stepped it up rather than falling off, after signing an extension.

Capers came in and Kampman, despite his tremendous efforts and results in the previous D-Scheme, had to transition from a 3-point to a 2 point stance.

You may recall it didn't go well.

Besides, both a former Vi_Queen AND Chicago Bear on our D-Line might just make me pull something.

JakeWeery
JakeWeery

Gotch ya!

XLBadger
XLBadger

Minnesota has been "Green Bay West" for the last decade ... it's time to turn that table ... IMO, Allen could be a good fit in any scheme ... otherwise, he's adaptable and can learn.

Honorary Kentucky Colonel
Honorary Kentucky Colonel

I like this; Peppers still has some petro in the tank and he'll be a positive influence in the locker room.

Can hardly wait for the Packers-Bears games!

JakeWeery
JakeWeery

Hasn't missed a start since 2009. Defensive numbers have been consistent. It appears that he has one or two productive seasons left in his tank. I'm glad to see him in Green and Gold.

Harvey
Harvey

He is 34. But I trust TT. Maybe he saw something.

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