Impact of Jared Allen on Panthers’ struggling pass rush

Carolina fans should be hesitant to view trade acquisition Jared Allen as their pass-rush savior.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Sam Riche)

(AP Photo/Sam Riche)

Impact of Jared Allen on Panthers’ struggling pass rush


In a rare in-season trade, the Carolina Panthers acquired Bears OLB Jared Allen from Chicago on Monday.

What kind of impact can Allen have immediately on the NFC’s fourth-ranked defense?

Through Week 3, Allen owns a +1.8 overall grade, 11th among 3-4 outside linebackers. Traditionally, however, Allen has played 4-3 defensive end, where his best-graded season came in 2011 (+22.6, fifth-best in NFL).

2015 has been Allen’s first season at OLB, with the Bears’ 3-4 scheme forcing him into the role. In Carolina, however, he will likely return to his familiar 4-3 DE position.

Carolina hopes Allen will make an immediate impact to a struggling pass rush (ranked 22nd in the league through Week 3). He will most likely be replacing DE Charles Johnson, who is expected to miss four weeks with a hamstring injury.

Johnson is PFF’s 17th-ranked 4-3 DE through three weeks. What he has lacked in pass-rush productivity (4.8, fourth-lowest for 4-3 DEs), however, he has made up for in his run defense (+3.7, seventh-best in NFL at his position).

Panthers fans should quell any high expectations for the veteran Allen, however. In fact, the 2004 fourth-round draft pick hasn’t fared better than Johnson in the 4-3 defensive end role the last few seasons. In 2014 pass-rushing productivity, Allen finished at No. 19 in the NFL—Johnson came in at No. 4. 2013 showed much of the same story, with Allen at No. 28, Johnson at No. 5.

Allen’s best PFF-era stint came between 2007 and 2011, where he finished among the top eight 4-3 defensive ends four out of those five years. Since then, however, he’s been on a steady decline, with overall grades at No. 19 or lower.

The moral of the story? While a veteran presence is certainly a plus for a Panthers’ defense that has suffered some key injuries, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott shouldn’t expect Allen to dominate the pass-rush for Carolina anytime soon.

| General Editor

Chase is a General Editor at PFF, focusing on the site’s NFL content strategy. His work has been featured in ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

  • enai D

    Just because you put your dog in a duck costume doesn’t mean he’s a duck- Jared Allen’s not an OLB.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      he still had an above average grade thru 3 weeks, this trade was more about the bears getting rid of his contract as they get ready for 2016 already

      • Joseph Leonard

        Well Said

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      • David J. Kubik

        More about getting rid of the player – they already paid 93% of his salary. They ate almost $12 mil in salary for this year on him. Jared Allen asked for the trade.

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          i said “2016” in regards to getting rid of his contract, i’m aware that the majority of his 2015 pay was in the form of a roster bonus

          • David J. Kubik

            In 2016, his contract is 0% guaranteed, so I was looking at it from the perspective of they were gunna get rid of him anyway, so why not get anything we can. But you are right that now we don’t even have to worry about making that decision about cutting him.

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            it also would take any cap acceleration for off the books for 2016, but i don’t think he had signing bonus that would cause that, uncertain of that tho anyway

          • David J. Kubik

            In 2016, his contract is 0% guaranteed, so I was looking at it from the perspective of they were gunna get rid of him anyway, so why not get anything we can. But you are right that now we don’t even have to worry about making that decision about cutting him.

      • enai D

        Um, ok.. I was just pointing out that listing him as “OLB Jared Allen” is sort of silly since he’s been a defensive end his whole career, and didn’t stop just because the Bears tried to jam a round peg into a square hole by moving him to 3-4 OLB…

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          listing him by his position, at the time, is the only way to list him…

          • enai D

            Idk about that… Did RGIII magically become a safety and not a QB because he played safety on the scout team? Will Paul George now be a PF this year because the Pacers intend to go small? Or are these players just playing out of position?

            But more than anything, the point is how ridiculous it was of the Bears to try to convert one of the best 4-3 DE’s in recent memory to a 3-4 OLB during the twilight of his career, and expect anything good to come of it.

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            scout team and basketball references, really? he was grading ABOVE AVERGAE at OLB, i’m done.

          • enai D

            And he’s an all-time great at his real position- DE. Way to miss the point, junior- herp before you derp next time, eh?

  • Rodney Deese

    When are y’all gonna learn that the Panthers don’t rely on 1 man. I really don’t like Allen for a statement he made about our QB sometime back. However he is a means to an end. And if he don’t produce his stay in the QC will be short lived.