Jared Allen

This Date In Transactions History: Panthers Acquire Jared Allen

Three years ago today, the Panthers added a much-needed pass rusher to their squad. The team acquired defensive end Jared Allen from the Bears, with Chicago receiving a conditional sixth-round pick in return. While the five-time Pro Bowler had clearly lost a step by the time he made it to North Carolina, he still played a role in helping the Panthers win their conference.

After having spent six seasons with the Vikings, Allen inked a four-year, $32MM deal ($15.5MM) guaranteed with the Bears in 2014. The veteran put up solid stats during his lone full season in Chicago, compiling 56 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two passes defended. With Vic Fangio hired as defensive coordinator in 2015, Allen was forced to switch from defensive end to linebacker. While he embraced the change, he failed to show the same kind of pass-rushing prowess, compiling only five tackles and zero sacks through the team’s first three games.

Meanwhile, the Panthers found themselves struggling with injuries among their front seven, as Luke Kuechly, Charles Johnson, and Frank Alexander were all hobbled. Having started the season 3-0, the organization decided to add some reinforcement to their defensive line, and they acquired Allen for a conditional pick.

Allen was plenty solid during his tenure with the Panthers, compiling 27 tackles and a pair of sacks in 12 games (12 starts). The veteran sat out the team’s NFC Championship Game victory over the Cardinals, but he returned in time for the Super Bowl. Allen finished that contest with a single tackle, as the Panthers fell to the Broncos, 24-10. Less than two weeks later, Allen announced his retirement, and he subsequently signed a one-day contract with the Vikings.

While Allen certainly isn’t known for his time in North Carolina, the veteran still played an important role in guiding the Panthers to their second Super Bowl appearance.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jared Allen To Retire As Viking

APRIL 14: Allen has signed a one-day contract with the Vikings to officially retire as a member of the team.

FEBRUARY 18: Veteran defensive end Jared Allen, who finished the 2015 season with the Panthers, has decided to call it a career. Allen announced his retirement today in a video published to his Twitter account.Jared Allen

“I just want to say thank you for an amazing 12-year career,” Allen said, joking about riding off into the sunset before literally “riding off” on horseback. The 33-year-old also issued a formal statement on his retirement (TwitLonger link via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports), which read, in part:

“I want to take this time to thank my family, friends fans, and teammates who have given their continued support throughout my 12 year career. It’s been a great ride for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the memories. It is with a great deal of thought and consideration, that I have decided that I will not return to football next year.”

Since entering the NFL as a fourth-round pick in 2004, Allen has been one of the NFL’s most dominant pass rushers, leading the league in sacks on multiple occasions and earning four first-team All-Pro nods. In 187 career regular-season games, Allen racked up 136 sacks, 32 forced fumbles, 19 fumble recoveries, and even six interceptions.

Allen didn’t exactly enjoy a storybook ending to his NFL career, but this year’s Super Bowl represented the first time that the veteran defensive end got a chance to play for a championship — he fought through a broken foot in order to take the field for Super Bowl 50.

Although he hadn’t a played in a Super Bowl until this year, Allen appeared in playoff games during his time in Kansas City and Minnesota. His best individual seasons came in 2007 – when he totaled 15.5 sacks in his final year with the Chiefs – and in 2011, when he nearly broke Michael Strahan‘s single-season record by piling up 22 sacks. Having spent the brunt of his 12-year NFL career with the Chiefs and Vikings, Allen signed with the Bears as a free agent in 2014, then finished his career in Carolina, after being traded to the Panthers during the 2015 season.

Because they acquired him in a trade, the Panthers won’t carry any dead money on their salary cap this year for Allen. The club also won’t be on the hook for his $8.5MM base salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: J. Allen, O. Bolden, JPP

Our newest round of injury updates has an impact on two teams still alive in the postseason, along with one notable player eligible for free agency this winter. Let’s dive in and check out the latest….

  • Per David Newton of ESPN.com, Panthers defensive end Jared Allen met with Dr. Robert Anderson – one of the country’s top foot doctors – during Sunday’s game and was scheduled to meet with him again today. Initially diagnoses with a fractured foot, Allen aimed to get a more definitive diagnosis today, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggests (via Twitter) that nothing has changed since Sunday — it’s still believed to be a small broken bone, and Allen hopes to play through it. The veteran pass rusher’s status will be worth keeping a close eye on this week.
  • Broncos defensive back and return man Omar Bolden will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his PCL, per Mike Klis of 9NEWS. Bolden was used somewhat sparingly as a returner this season, but made the most of his opportunities, with one of his five regular-season punt returns going for an 83-yard touchdown, and his lone playoff return going for 42 yards. He’ll be placed on IR and the Broncos will decide within the next couple days how to place him, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
  • Giants defensive end and free-agent-to-be Jason Pierre-Paul posted a photo on his Instagram revealing that he’s undergoing more surgery on his injured hand today. New York is unlikely to use its franchise tag on JPP again, so he figures to hit the open market in March if he and the Giants can’t work out an extension. You can bet teams will be closely monitoring the state of his that right hand.

Injury Updates: Allen, Okung, Cobb

Some big names have suffered injuries during this weekend’s NFL playoff action. Here’s the latest:

  • Panthers defensive end Jared Allen injured his foot during the team’s Sunday win over the Seahawks and and is likely to require season-ending surgery, tweets Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com conflicts Jones’ report, tweeting that Allen plans to continue playing. Allen broke a small bone in his foot, per Rapoport. The 12th-year man is scheduled to undergo an X-ray Monday, according to Jones (Twitter link), which should clarify his status.
  • Not only did the Seahawks’ season end in Carolina, but left tackle Russell Okung‘s career with the team may have concluded with an injury. The one-time Pro Bowler and pending free agent dislocated his shoulder, reports The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta (on Twitter). The terrible timing of the injury could have a negative effect on Okung’s market this offseason, notes CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link). On Saturday, PFR’s Dallas Robinson ranked Okung, 28, as the ninth-best free agent in the upcoming class.
  • Packers receiver Randall Cobb left Saturday’s loss to Arizona early with a bruised lung, but he tweeted Sunday that he was discharged from the hospital and feels “much better.”

Jared Allen: “I’m Not Going To Play For Another Team”

After coming over from the Bears in an early-season trade, veteran defensive end Jared Allen has been enjoying the ride with the undefeated Panthers, so much so that he apparently wants to finish his career with the team. Retirement is one option this offseason for Allen, who may have to undergo back surgery, but if he continues to play, he wants that to happen in Carolina, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes.

“I’m not going to play for another team,” Allen said. “I take every year for what it is. I make assessments after the year on how my body feels. It’s going to be a tough offseason. I’ve got things I’ve got to get fixed. I go through the same process year in and year out. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year.”

Allen, 33, has managed to stay on the field for nearly every game over the last two seasons, even as he battles health issues, but his production has been on the decline. After recording no fewer than 11 sacks in every season from 2007 to 2013, Allen had 5.5 last year for the Bears, and has just two for the Bears and Panthers this year. Pro Football Focus ranks him 85th out of 107 edge defenders in 2015.

The Panthers can live with a part-time role and limited production from Allen this year, since the team is paying him less than $1MM, with the bulk of his 2015 earnings having been paid by Chicago. However, the veteran’s salary jumps to $8.5MM in 2016, the final year of his contract, and Carolina could clear that entire amount from its cap by releasing him. So if Allen is going to return to the Panthers, he’d have to take a pay cut to do so.

NFC South Notes: Ingram, Reed, Allen

It’s a big week in the NFC South, where the Buccaneers will try to continue pushing for a playoff spot against the Saints, while the Falcons will look to hand the Panthers their first loss of the season. Earlier today, we asked you whether Carolina will finish the season with a 16-0 record. Now, we’re checking in on some more NFC South notes. Let’s dive in…

  • Saints running back Mark Ingram is battling a serious shoulder injury, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network, who tweets that it could be a season-ender. Ingram is undergoing tests to determine the severity of the injury, tweets Ed Werder of ESPN.com.
  • After signing a five-year, $22.5MM contract that featured $9MM in guaranteed money, linebacker Brooks Reed hasn’t been able to make a major impact for the Falcons this season, and he knows it, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “All I can say is I’m working to be a better football player,” Reed said. “It’s going to take just a lot of hard at work. All I can say is that I’m working at it and it’s going to come. I promise that.”
  • Panthers defensive end Jared Allen remains under contract for next season, but he may have to undergo back surgery in the offseason, and says he’s taking every year as it comes, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). While Allen may very well continue his playing career in 2016, there’s not much chance he’ll do so on his current deal, which calls for a non-guaranteed $8.5MM salary next year.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Brooks, Parkey

Although defensive end Charles Johnson is expected to miss multiple games due to a hamstring injury, the Panthers aren’t considering placing him on the injured reserve list with the designation to return, tweets Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Carolina acquired Jared Allen this week to help boost the pass rush in Johnson’s absence, and according to agent Ken Harris, the Panthers were one of five teams that he and his client identified as potential landing spots (link via David Newton of ESPN.com). Carolina was “by far” their No. 1 choice, per Harris.

Let’s round up several more items from across the NFC….

  • 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks wasn’t present in court today, but his lawyer put in a plea of “not guilty” for his client on a misdemeanor sexual battery charge, reports Damian Trujillo of NBC Bay Area (Twitter link). Brooks seems likely to face discipline from the NFL sometime after the legal process plays out.
  • Cody Parkey‘s groin injury is more serious than it initially sounded, with the Eagles kicker telling reporters today that he tore three muscles in his groin. While he landed on the IR today, Parkey fully expects to be kicking again for the Eagles again in 2016 (Twitter links via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer).
  • The Bears may not be done making trades this season, but the Cowboys haven’t discussed the possibility of acquiring a player like Matt Forte or Alshon Jeffery, says Ed Werder of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • No outside free agent got a larger contract from the Saints than the $16MM deal C.J. Spiller signed this offseason, and head coach Sean Payton admits that he needs to get the running back more involved in the offense, according to Christopher Dabe of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
  • Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, who was taken out of Monday night’s game against the Chiefs, re-aggravated his high ankle sprain, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Adams is expected to miss some time, though it’s too early for an exact timetable. As for tight end Andrew Quarless, he has a sprained MCL, and is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks, per Rapoport (Twitter link).

Bears Notes: Allen, Young, Forte, Ratliff

NFL teams typically don’t make many trades once the season begins, since new offensive and defensive systems can be tricky to learn on the fly, and salary cap considerations and draft pick compensation can make it challenging to find the right deal. However, the Bears were certainly active on Monday, consummating two trades that sent defensive players out of town. Chicago sent veteran pass rusher Jared Allen to the Panthers, then dealt linebacker Jon Bostic to the Patriots.

The Bears have lost their first three games, have seen their starting quarterback – Jay Cutler – go down with an injury, and have now traded away two key contributors on defense. Everything points to the team looking ahead to the 2016 season, as the rebuilding process moves forward under new head coach John Fox.

Here’s the latest out of Chicago, with plenty of items on those two trades:

  • Ken Harris, Allen’s agent, tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) that the trade process for his client began when Allen and Bears GM Ryan Pace discussed a mutually beneficial option for both of them. Presumably, both the player and team decided a trade would be the best course of action.
  • Pace issued a statement yesterday, indicating that the Bears’ depth at linebacker allowed them to trade Allen, and adding that the team “will continue to be aggressive in finding ways to improve.” Head coach John Fox also noted that moving Allen will give Willie Young a chance to play more (Twitter links via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune).
  • The disastrous Allen contract is a good lesson for Pace and the Bears, who should focus on building through the draft in the future, rather than trying to build through free agency, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
  • As Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap observes, Allen is the third big contract jettisoned by the Bears this year — the team also cut Tim Jennings and his guaranteed salary, and traded Brandon Marshall to the Jets a year after extending him.
  • Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com believes it’s time for the Bears to listen on trade offers for running back Matt Forte, whose contract expires after the season. In Dickerson’s view, it’s also worth gauging interest on Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett.
  • As two defenders depart, another returns — nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff is back today from his three-game suspension, and the Bears will have a roster exemption until Thursday for him, tweets Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange. By Thursday, Chicago will have to either cut Ratliff or officially give him a spot on the 53-man roster.

Panthers To Acquire Jared Allen From Bears

5:16pm: The sixth-round pick going from the Panthers to the Bears will be conditional, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen (on Twitter).

3:55pm: The Bears are getting a sixth-round pick from the Panthers, tweets Glazer. As noted below, Brad Biggs initially reported that the pick is expected to be a conditional one, so there may be conditions tied to Allen’s playing time and/or production in Carolina — for now though, it sounds like it’s just a sixth-rounder.

3:31pm: In a surprising move, the Panthers and Bears have agreed to a trade involving veteran pass rusher Jared Allen, who will head to Carolina in the deal, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets that the Bears are expected to receive a conditional draft pick in exchange for Allen.Jared Allen

With their top pass rusher Charles Johnson sidelined due to a hamstring injury, the Panthers had been seeking defensive line help, and head coach Ron Rivera suggested earlier today that the team would consider bringing in outside help. Of course, at the time, I would’ve guessed Rivera meant bringing in a few free agents for auditions, rather than acquiring one of the more dominant pass rushers of the last decade.

Allen, who was in his second year with the Bears, recorded double-digit sacks for seven consecutive seasons prior to signing with Chicago, and never had fewer than 7.5 sacks in a season during his NFL career prior to 2014, when he recorded just 5.5. Allen still played well for the Bears, but once the team brought in new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his 3-4 scheme, the 33-year-old was no longer a real fit for Chicago. In three games with the Bears this season, Allen held his own against the run and grabbed an interception, but had yet to pick up a sack.

In Carolina, Allen will get a chance to play defensive end in a 4-3 system once again, and that’s the situation in which he had all of his most productive years. Of course, Allen is no longer the All-Pro player he was in Kansas City and Minnesota, but he can still be an effective pass rusher, and he should help a Panthers team that has missed Greg Hardy over the last year and will be without Johnson in the short term.

The four-year, $32MM deal Allen signed in 2014 looked questionable at the time, and looks even worse now, as the Bears paid nearly $15MM for a little over a season from the veteran defensive end, who was signed by former GM Phil Emery. The fact that this year’s Bears were willing to move on from Allen so quickly suggests that, at 0-3 and with quarterback Jay Cutler injured, the team may already be looking ahead to 2016.

Since Chicago paid Allen an $11.5MM roster bonus earlier this year, the deal works out well for the Panthers from a financial standpoint. Carolina will take on the remainder of Allen’s $1MM salary for 2015, along with base salaries of $8.5MM for 2016 and $8MM for 2017. While this year’s salary is guaranteed, the ’16 and ’17 figures aren’t, so if things don’t go well this year for Allen and the Panthers this year, the team can cut ties with him in the winter.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link), the Bears were having trade talks involving Allen for at least a couple weeks, and other teams knew he was available, so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of pick the Panthers had to give up to land him — especially since his salary for his new team is quite modest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Bears, 49ers, Saints, Falcons

New Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio believes 33-year-old Jared Allen, who’s shifting from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker, could be in line for a career renaissance.

“Like I told him, I think he can have a rebirth to his career here playing a little bit of a new position,” said Fangio, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. “But in the NFL today, you play more nickel than you actually play base. For some teams they play nickel 65 to 75 percent of the time. He’ll be playing his normal position then. So it’s not as drastic of a change as you might think.”

More production from Allen would be a welcome sight for Chicago, which had the third-worst defense in the NFL in 2014. Allen finished with just 5.5 sacks, the lowest total of an 11-year career that has seen him take down opposing quarterbacks 134 times.

Fangio is similarly hopeful about one of Allen’s fellow linebackers, Shea McClellin, adjusting well to his defense. McClellin, a 2012 first-round pick, has a meager 7.5 sacks during his first three seasons. Those years were spent shifting between defensive end and outside linebacker in the Bears’ previous 4-3 scheme. The 25-year-old will move to the inside of the linebacking corps as part of Fangio’s 3-4.

“I think he has a chance to be a good inside linebacker,” said Fangio. “We’re going to give him a full opportunity here and a full chance to learn the position so we can evaluate him and see if that’s a good spot for him.”

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The 49ers’ defense lost multiple key elements during a chaotic offseason. Star linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland both retired, while defensive lineman Justin Smith is contemplating joining them. One important returning face is linebacker Aldon Smith, who’s ready to become the leader of their defense in a contract year. “It’s a role I’m comfortable with,” Smith said, according to CSNBayArea.com. “Obviously, losing guys who were here … someone steps up. And it’s something I have no problem doing.” Smith has a whopping 44 sacks in 50 regular-season games, but the four-year veteran’s career has been beset by off-field issues.
  • The Saints are expected to feel the loss of elite tight end Jimmy Graham, whom they traded to the Seahawks earlier this offseason, but Mike Triplett of ESPN.com notes that the team’s offense might not drop off as drastically as some think. The Saints have fielded a top six offense every year during the Sean PaytonDrew Brees era, leading the league three times in yardage before Graham even got to New Orleans. In terms of weaponry, Triplett believes the additions of running back C.J. Spiller and wide receiver Brandin Cooks could help make up for the loss of Graham.
  • Falcons superstar wide receiver Julio Jones is in line for a big contract extension, but there hasn’t been much progress on getting a new deal done. General manager Thomas Dimitroff didn’t provide an update on Jones’ situation on Saturday, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN (via Twitter).
  • Randy Gregory, the Cowboys’ newly drafted pass rusher, is off to a good start at the team’s rookie camp. The second-round pick looked like more than just a speed rusher Saturday, showing off an array of moves and netting a would-be sack, writes Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.