Jared Allen has a new home, and it will keep the defensive end chasing many of the same quarterbacks he’s pursued for the last six years.
The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with Allen on a four-year deal, the team announced Wednesday.
Allen’s deal could be worth up to $32 million, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. It includes $15.5 million in guaranteed money, and could void after three years and $24 million.
“We’re really excited about adding Jared to our football team. We know what his abilities bring to the table,” Bears coach Mark Trestman told the team’s website. “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.”
The Bears recently cleared $4 million in cap space by restructuring quarterback Jay Cutler’s contract, according to multiple reports. The Bears converted $5 million of his base salary into a signing bonus, and prorated that over five years, the reports stated.
Allen has 128.5 career sacks, 12th most in NFL history. He has seven consecutive double-digit sack seasons, including 11.5 last season in Minnesota — where he made his mark after the Vikings traded for him in 2008.
The defensive end became one of the most prolific and popular players in Vikings history, coming within a half-sack of Michael Strahan’s single-season record in 2011 and making the Pro Bowl four times in his six years with the Vikings.
Allen’s animated on-field persona, his durability and his charity work made him a hit with fans in Minnesota, and when the Vikings called to talk Brett Favre into playing a second year for them in 2010, Allen was one of three players who got on a plane to Hattiesburg, Miss., to help bring the quarterback to the Twin Cities.
Now, Vikings fans will see what it’s like to watch Allen play for another team in the NFC North.
“We are extremely happy for Jared, his wife Amy, our fans and the Chicago Bears that Jared has agreed to terms and will be joining the Bears family,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said. “This is another important step in our continued efforts to build our team towards a championship level.”
Allen also had visited the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks during free agency, and had toyed with the idea of retiring. He had said toward the end of the 2013 season that he’d stop playing before he’d accept a role as a situational pass-rusher.
But as he replaces the recently released Julius Peppers in Chicago, it seems Allen will have a chance to continue getting a heavy share of playing time — after playing 93 percent of the Vikings’ snaps from 2008 to ’13 – and securing his spot on the all-time sacks list.
Allen needs just 4.5 sacks to move into sole possession of 10th place in NFL history, and could climb to as high as fifth next season if he’s able to record 13.5 sacks and pass Strahan.
Allen would need 72.5 to tie Bruce Smith for the all-time record, but considering he hasn’t been below 10 sacks in a season since 2006, he’s got a chance to add to his numbers.
The Bears will introduce Allen on Monday.
Previously covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press
Also covered Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild and Washington Nationals
Twin Cities native and University of Minnesota graduate