Bears Sign Jared Allen
In an unexpected move, the Bears signed veteran DE Jared Allen on a four-year, $32 million contract with $15.5 million in guaranteed money. Allen had courted the Seahawks, visiting Seattle twice during free agency, but he’ll stay in the NFC North.
This signing comes on the heels of Chicago cutting ties with Julius Peppers, who subsequently signed with Green Bay.
Allen is one of the league’s most prolific pass rushers, posting double-digit sacks in all but two of his 10 seasons in the league. The high point in his career came in 2011 when Allen threatened the NFL single-season sack record, finishing with a whopping 22 sacks. Allen’s 128.5 sacks ranks him second among active players and 12th all-time.
At 31 years old, Allen appeared to be on the decline over the past two seasons with the Vikings, which could be due in large part to his heavy usage. He’s topped 1,000 snaps in each of the last three seasons.
In Chicago, Allen joins a revitalized defensive line that has added ascendant player Lamarr Houston from the Raiders while cutting ties with Peppers, Henry Melton and Corey Wootton. If the Bears are wise, they’ll limit Allen’s reps to around 70-75 percent of the team’s snaps to get the most out of the veteran.
Allen’s signing wasn’t the only news to come out of this situation on Wednesday morning. We also got a little clarity on Peppers’ role in Green Bay with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel suggesting Peppers will play the “elephant.” In essence, this means he’ll mainly play end in the base with some snaps at outside linebacker and kick to the interior in the subpackages.
For Peppers, the fact that he’ll remain mainly a defensive end is actually a good thing for his fantasy value. At linebacker, he’d be off the IDP radar, but at least now he will be a matchup DL2.
Allen’s situation is a lot better for fantasy purposes. It’s extremely unlikely we ever see him get into the high teens again, but double-digit sacks is well within reason. If Chicago does in fact limit his snap count, Allen could be quite productive in his new home. Still, it’s a good idea to temper expectations for Allen and consider him a borderline DL1 at best.
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Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.