Jared Allen to wear No. 69 with the BearsContinue reading.
Bears sign defensive end Jared Allen
ORLANDO, Fla. — Jared Allen is a Chicago Bear.
It’s a major move in every aspect, quickly becoming the biggest story of the final day of the NFL owners meetings in Orlando. Allen was the best pass rusher available in free agency, and the Bears reached a four-year deal with him.
“We’re excited to have him in Chicago,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said at the NFL owners meeting.. “We’re looking forward to it. … Getting somebody of Jared’s talents is a big move.”
It was a deal that came together in the last couple of days as the Bears maneuvered the salary cap. Allen’s deal is worth $32 million, including $15.5 million guaranteed.
The Bears had just freed up an additional $4 million in cap space by restructuring parts of Cutler’s lucrative deal. But the Bears had also set aside money for another significant free agent.
Allen definitely had generated interested on the free-agent market. The Seahawks were believed to be the leader for his services not too long ago. But Allen also had a desire to remain in the NFC North.
“It’s continuing to build our team,” Bears president Ted Phillips said. “We’re excited. You can’t have enough playmakers and he’s been a great one for a number of years. We’re excited to have to him. We’re happy for him. We’re happy for his wife. And we can’t wait to get started.”
Allen, 31, had 11.5 sacks for the Vikings last season. He leads the NFL in sacks with 128.5 since entering the league in 2004.
Allen immediately upgrades a defensive line that lost defensive tackle Henry Melton in free agency. It also helps up make up for the release of defensive end Julius Peppers, who is now with the Packers. Allen is expected to start opposite defensive end Lamarr Houston with Willie Young now in a backup role..
Allen started every game over his six seasons with the Vikings. And he’s still very productive, recording 11.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, 33 solo tackles, six pass deflections and two forced fumbles in 2013.
Allen will undergo a physical at Halas Hall on Monday and a press conference is scheduled for later that day. Allen did release a statement through his agency on Wednesday.
“I’d like to take a moment to thank my former teammates, coaches and the staff at the Minnesota Vikings for all of their inspiring work and dedication,” Allen said. “Perhaps more importantly, I would like to thank the fans and the Minnesota community. I can only hope that I have left with you all with even a fraction of the positive support and impact you have had on my life, my foundation and my family. I am very excited about this next chapter in my career with the Chicago Bears and can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. God bless.”
The move was announced just moments after the NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. Coach Marc Trestman did not discuss Allen’s signing during the breakfast, but did address Allen’s addition to the team website.
“We’re really excited about adding Jared to our football team,” Trestman said. “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. I know that our defensive coaches are excited as well.”