Jared Allen may have signed a four-year contract with the Chicago Bears last year, but he’ll be leaving the Windy City a lot sooner than 2018.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Jared Allen was traded to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a sixth-round 2016 draft pick. Jon Bostic, a linebacker drafted by the Bears in 2013, was traded to the New England Patriots, also for a sixth round draft pick, next year. The trading of Jared Allen (and Jon Bostic) is part of Chicago’s attempt to plan for the future.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 28, 2015
The trade especially makes sense for Jared Allen, who likely wouldn’t have many (if any) seasons left after his contract with the Bears expired. Allen is now part of the 3-0 Carolina Panthers, making it much more likely to make it to the postseason than if Jared remained with the 0-3 Bears. With some saying that Allen’s position (defensive end) is the Bears’ deepest roster spot, the move makes even more sense.
In his first three games with the Bears this season, Allen had 7 tackles, 1 interception, and no sacks. Jared’s presence on the Bears defense won’t be missed. And for a 33-year-old defensive end, even a sixth round draft pick is a nice get.
More importantly than his presence on the field, Jared Allen’s presence will be missed in the locker room. Teammate Pernell McPhee explained how Allen set an example for the others.
“He knew the game. He studied. He prepared himself well,” McPhee told reporters. “He took care of his body.”
Chicago will end up paying $11.5 million of Jared’s 2015 salary. Allen collects an additional $823,000 from Carolina.
It has already been confirmed that Jared Allen passed his physical, so he’ll be in a Panthers uniform for Week 4.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 29, 2015
And for the Carolina Panthers, Jared Allen fills an unanticipated need. Starter Charles Johnson left Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints with a hamstring injury.
As ESPN reported, Allen can help fill the hole left by Johnson, who will be out next Sunday for Carolina’s game against Tampa Bay. It’s the same hamstring that has caused Johnson problems in the past, so he’s not expected to return quickly. Jared Allen’s new team has a bye during Week 5, after which Johnson’s condition will be re-evaluated. Allen is expected to start in Johnson’s absence. Assuming Johnson returns, Carolina’s 4-3 defense is a better suit for Jared than Chicago’s defense. So it’s a good fit for Allen, even if he isn’t a starter come Week 6.
Dave Gettleman, Carolina’s general manager, has high hopes and expectations for Allen.
“Jared Allen is a proven pass rusher,” he said. “And when you have a chance to add a quality player to your roster you must take advantage of the opportunity.” Coach Ron Rivera called Allen a “pass rushing specialist” who “rushes with violence.” He also saw Jared’s availability as an opportunity they didn’t want to pass up.
The hope for Allen is that he meets expectations in Carolina — which he failed to do in Chicago. Brought in after one of Chicago’s best offensive seasons, many thought the addition of Allen was the final defensive piece the Bears needed to really make a run for the Super Bowl. The Bears were 5-11 during Jared’s first year with the team, and are on pace to do much worse this season.
Jared’s first chance to prove himself as a Carolina Panther comes on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Allen couldn’t ask for a much easier first game. After three weeks, Tampa Bay (1-2) is ranked 20th in the NFL in rushing yards, and just 27th in passing.
Beginning at noon on Fox, you can watch Jared Allen’s first game as a Carolina Panther when they travel to Florida on Sunday.
[Image credit Jon Durr / Getty Images]