Jared Allen's wandering free agency journey is over. Retirement can wait, and he doesn't even need to leave the NFC North.
Allen has agreed to a four-year deal with the Chicago Bears, the team announced Wednesday. He previously had two meetings with the Seattle Seahawks, but he patiently waited for an offer that reflected his All-Pro output over the course of his 10-year career. Allen's agent Ken Harris suggested there was a mystery team or two involved all along, and that team turned out to be Chicago.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports the contract is for $32 million, although the pact voids to three years for $24 million. The deal includes $15.5 million in fully guaranteed money. There is a large guaranteed bonus due next March along with fully guaranteed salaries in the first two years. We expect this to turn into a two-year deal.
The 31-year-old four-time All-Pro pass rusher has 128.5 career sacks, which ranks 12th on the all-time list, and only second to John Abraham (133.5) among active players. Allen appeared to be on the field too much last year and his consistency was lagging, but he had some great moments down the stretch.
The Bears might get a more productive Allen if they give him fewer snaps. At worst, he's a league-average starter. That's worth plenty.
Chicago went into the offseason wanting to improve its pass rush. The Bears have since added Lamarr Houston, and essentially replaced Julius Peppers with Jared Allen at half the cost. Chicago's defense suddenly won't become dominant again because of these moves, but they have the pieces in place to improve in 2014. They needed it.