The Dallas Cowboys and two other unidentified NFC teams also are on Peppers' four-team wish list, according to the same person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade talks were supposed to remain confidential.
But several obstacles must be cleared before Peppers leaves Carolina. The biggest is that the Panthers have placed the franchise tag on their career sacks leader. That required them to offer Peppers a one-year tender for $16.7 million, which immediately counts against the salary cap, leaving Carolina no cap space to make any other free-agent moves.
Under the non-exclusive franchise-tag rules, Peppers can sign with another team only if that club gives up two first-round draft picks in return. There is precedent for teams letting a franchise player go for less compensation -- the Kansas City Chiefs traded defensive end Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings last year for a first-round pick and two third-round choices -- but any kind of deal now is tricky because Peppers hasn't signed his tender with Carolina.
Until he does, the Panthers are barred from any trade talks involving Peppers. His agent can negotiate with other teams, then can come to the Panthers with a deal for them to accept or reject. Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement Monday that the team hasn't been presented with any trade proposals.
It's also uncertain that the Panthers would be willing to accept just a second-round pick -- as the NFL.com report suggested -- for a player who had 14½ sacks last season and is the cornerstone of their defensive line.
Peppers, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 draft, announced last month that he wouldn't sign a long-term deal with Carolina and wanted to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. The Patriots are among the teams that use that defense.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press