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Julius Peppers signs contract with Green Bay Packers

After being cut by the Chicago Bears, Julius Peppers is joining the enemy.

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The former Bears defensive end agreed to a three-year contract with the rival Green Bay Packers, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday. ESPN's Josina Anderson first reported the news.

The Packers later confirmed the signing.

The contract is for a maximum of $30 million, with $8.5 million in the first year, according to Rapoport.

The Bears released Peppers earlier in the week in a cost-cutting move. The Dallas Cowboys expressed interest in signing the 13-year veteran, but Peppers decided to remain within the division.

The 34-year-old pass rusher will move to a 3-4 defense after spending his entire career in the 4-3 scheme.

It's a shrewd move for Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who continues his methodical offseason. He essentially is giving Peppers a one-year look to see if the veteran has anything left in his tank.

Rapoport reported earlier this offseason that the Packers wanted to get more athletic, more multiple in their schemes and rush the passer more effectively. We assumed this meant also getting younger, but Peppers is another way to go.

The veteran pass rusher's skills have declined rapidly, but he still can pressure the quarterback -- something the Packers struggled to do consistently last season.

Green Bay's outside linebackers rushed on 83 percent of their plays in 2013, per Pro Football Focus. If Peppers lines up as a linebacker, you can bet it's not to drop in coverage.

Joining Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and the re-signed Mike Neal at outside linebacker, Peppers will be part of a rotation of pass rushers; limiting his snaps could increase his productivity.

Peppers also has the ability to play defensive end, with re-signed B.J. Raji moving back to nose tackle. The signing immediately makes the Packers more multiple in the packages and works toward the team's goal of becoming longer and more athletic on the defensive line.

One thing is for certain: Jay Cutler cannot be happy at the prospect of facing his old teammate twice next year. 

The "Around The League Podcast" breaks down all the free-agency moves and hands out a fleet of high-octane sandwiches.

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