How many people in Chicago woke up this morning to a certain notification on their phone and did the Jared Allen sack dance? Be honest, guys. This morning the news broke that Allen had finalized a four-year, $32 million contract (worth over $15.5 million guaranteed) with the Chicago Bears.
This is the move that Bear fans, myself included, were thinking about when it became apparent that this free agency class seemed incomplete. Now the defensive line that struggled to get into any backfield last season adds the second leading pass rusher among active players.
Allen will now join a revamped defensive line that will look extremely new yet similar in some ways. Other free agent additions included the big time signing of fellow defensive end Lamarr Houston, who is one of the league’s best run stopping ends. DE Willie Young was also added earlier in free agency to serve as a complement at the opposite end position. Additionally, the Bears have brought back DL Israel Idonije from his one-year stint with the Detroit Lions, re-signed Nate Collins who is returning from major ACL injury and re-signed a lineman looking to revive his career in Jeremiah Ratliff.
Allen admits that he was shocked at how hard Chicago pushed to sign him recently. It seemed as though he would end up signing on to play with the defending Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks. He did say that retirement was a viable option if he didn’t receive the contract he wanted.
There is only one person that I would directly attribute Allen’s signing to. It’s not GM Phil Emery. It’s not head coach Marc Trestman. It’s definitely not defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. It’s Jay Cutler.
Cutler was willing to restructure his new, big contract from the Bears to help clear additional cap space for this signing. This was a premeditated move by the Bears’ front office to finally lure Allen off of the free agent market. The writing was on the wall. Cutler’s willingness to restructure paved the way for this deal, and Chicago will have him to thank for this deal for the next three to four years.
For the last five years Allen was rushing hard to get Cutler off of the field for the Minnesota Vikings. This year, Allen will be using that motor to put Cutler back on it in that beautiful Bear blue.