Race on for Peppers, Gross

When it comes to the Carolina Panthers, the player whom many Eagles fans are talking about is offensive tackle Jordan Gross, the only high-profile young offensive tackle eligible for free agency. The Panthers reportedly are trying to lock him up before the Feb. 27 start of the signing period.

On the other side of the ball, defensive end Julius Peppers wants out of Carolina, but he will only accept a trade to four teams, according to multiple reports.

The Associated Press, citing a person close to Peppers, said the player would only agree to go to Dallas or three other teams, two in the NFC. The Charlotte Observer reports that those two other NFC teams are teams that the Panthers would not trade Peppers to, implying both are in the NFC South.

Accoding to the Observer, "The source also says that there are issues that could impede a trade to the other two teams such as compensation for the Panthers and potential contract problems for Peppers. In other words, the teams might not have a high first-round pick to offer Carolina, and might not have the money to pay Peppers."

Teams have until 4 p.m. Thursday to apply the franchise tag, something Peppers clearly does not want because it binds him to Carolina for another year. The Panthers also could apply the tag to Gross if they cannot sign him.

Could be an interesting day in Charlotte ...