The Chicago Bears have traded star defensive player Jared Allen to the Carolina Panthers just one season after signing him to a $US32 million contract and just months after giving him an $US11.5 million bonus. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports was first to report that Allen had been traded.
The Bears will receive a sixth-round pick in the deal, according to Glazer, meaning the Bears will pay Allen nearly $US12 million in bonus and prorated salary this season and will receive a draft pick with little value in return.
The trade became necessary when the Bears realised that trying to shove a square peg (Allen) into a round hole (new defensive scheme) wasn’t working.
Allen, a 5-time Pro Bowler and 4-time first-team All-Pro, had been a defensive end his entire 11-year NFL career, including his first season with the Bears. However, after the 2014 season ended, the Bears announced they would be switching from a 4-3 (4 defensive linemen, 3 linebackers) to a 3-4 scheme (3 defensive line, 4 linebackers). The switch required Allen, a defensive end, to switch positions to a stand-up outside linebacker.
The advantage of the 3-4 defence in today’s pass-happy NFL is that it is easier to disguise which players will be rushing the quarterback on any given play. At the time of the announcement, the Bears sounded confident that Allen would fit in.
“I think [Allen] can be very flexible,” general manager Ryan Pace said at the time. “We can use him in a variety of ways. He’s done it for a lot of years … I think Vic Fangio and John Fox are intelligent guys who will find ways to maximise [the defensive players’] skill sets.”
The Bears were in a bind as the $US11.5 billion roster bonus was guaranteed, according to Spotrac, so cutting Allen would not have saved the team any money.
According to Glazer, the Bears “knew he didn’t fit the standup [outside linebacker] position and didn’t want to keep forcing it and forcing rotation.”
So instead of finding a use for Allen, they sent him packing for a late-round draft pick.
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