Reel Em' In: Defensive End Jared Allen Inks Four-Year Deal With Bears

Reel Em' In: Defensive End Jared Allen Inks Four-Year Deal With Bears
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) tackles Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Chicago. Cutler fumbled on the play and the ball was recovered by the Vikings. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Jared Allen won’t be chasing down Jay Cutler anymore, instead he might just become his best pal.

The 11th-year pro signed a four-year, $32 million deal with $15.5 million in guaranteed money with the Bears on Wednesday morning. The first two years of the deal are fully guaranteed.

Allen is coming off a 2013 campaign, where he added 11.5 sacks along with 52 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss, six pass deflections and two forced fumbles.

The Bears freed up $4 million in cap space for this season on Tuesday by restructuring Cutler’s recent seven-year deal. The team converted $5 million of his base salary into a signing bonus, so a big splash like this makes sense by Phil Emery and Co. with the money that was available.

A former 2004 fourth-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs out of Idaho State, Allen will turn 32 on April 3. He’s appeared in 157 games, making 151 starts, while producing 128.5 sacks, 558 tackles, five interceptions, 29 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries, 51 pass deflections and four safeties.

His 128.5 sacks are the second most among active NFL defenders behind only John Abraham. Playing for the Chiefs (2004-07) and the Vikings (2008-13), Allen was able to record the 12th most sacks in league history.

In his six seasons with rival Minnesota, Allen started all 96 games posting 85.5 sacks, four interceptions, 16 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries. Allen recorded a sack in nine games last season, including a season-high 2.5 sacks against Pittsburgh in Week Four.

“We’re really excited about adding Jared to our football team,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said via Chicagobears.com. “We know what his abilities bring to the table. Jared is certainly a very experienced player in the league. We believe he’s going to come in hungry and excited to be part of our football team, and we believe he’ll fit right in with the other new players that we’ve added and the guys that are already on the defensive side of the ball.”

Allen still has plenty left in the tank. He started all 16 games in 2013, playing on 1000 defensive snaps. He’s only a couple seasons removed from a 2011 campaign, where he posted a career-high 22 sacks, which was a half-sack short of Michael Strahan’s all-time single-season record.

Allen visited with the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks previously, but after the Bears cleared money to sign him they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He gets the chance to be a full-time starter rather than a situational pass rusher something that he felt he deserved.

For the Bears fans wondering if Allen is an upgrade over the recently released Julius Peppers. Well, over the last four seasons, Allen had 56.5 sacks and 223 tackles, while Peppers had 37.5 sacks and 175 tackles. That clears things up a bit.

Allen will be introduced by the Bears on Monday afternoon at Halas Hall.

He joins a new look defensive line that also added Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Israel Idonije, who have all been signed during the free-agency period that started on March 11.

Houston is versatile and can be used at defensive tackle on passing downs. That is something the Bears will likely look into with Allen now in town.

Allen’s signing allows the Bears to focus on different needs in the draft. Safety and defensive tackle remain at the top of the list, while drafting a defensive end later in the draft shouldn’t be out of the question.

Emery isn’t messing around. He’s doing a very good job at rebuilding this team, specifically the defense, which struggled hopelessly last season.

The signing of Allen emphasizes that Emery is all business. The Bears are on the cusp of being an elite team. If they bring in a couple more talented players, the Bears could be right there with the best.

Thoughts on the move? Do you still hate Allen or do you think he is a player you love when he’s on your team and hate when he isn’t?

 

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