CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers placed the franchise tag on defensive end Julius Peppers on Thursday, setting up a potential battle with the four-time Pro Bowl defensive end who wants to play elsewhere next season.
The move came moments after the Panthers signed All-Pro left tackle Jordan Gross to a six-year deal. Having locked up Gross, the Panthers placed the restrictive tag on Peppers, who had said he would request a trade under that scenario.
Terms of Gross's deal were not immediately available, but he's expected to become one of the NFL's highest-paid offensive lineman. The agreement Thursday ends more than a year of negotiations and removes a big obstacle in their efforts to deal with Peppers.