When the Chicago Bears announced the Jared Allen signing it caught everyone by surprise. Sure, there were rumors about him coming to the Bears, but I think that was more about people getting retweets and page views. There was nothing concrete about Chicago's interest until it all went down.
Phil Emery and the Bears stealthily went about their business in wrangling one of the best pass rushers in the history of the NFL. His 128.5 sacks ranks 12th all time and he's only 13 sacks away from the top five.
Jarred Allen may not have been the #1 priority of the Bears during free agency, but he's going to be a huge part of what the defense does this year. The 32 year old hasn't missed a game since 2007 and he's notorious for never wanting to get off the field. He'll be wise to cut back on his playing time as he enters his 11th season. He was very productive last year, but I think a fresher Allen could be just as productive. Pro Football Focus had him down for 65 combined sacks, hurries and QB hits in 1,083 snaps. That was the 3rd most d-line snaps last year. That number has to come down and he has to be willing to get that number down.
The top five graded 4-3 defensive ends according to PFF averaged 795 snaps on the season. If Allen comes down close to that number, while working in a three man rotation with fellow newcomer DEs Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, I think he can still hit his pass rush stats.
Allen may be just as important off the field as on. A veteran with five Pro Bowls and four appearances on the All Pro team is invaluable in the d-line meeting room. Hopefully his work ethic, his hustle and his film prep will all rub off on his teammates.
What are your expectations for Jared Allen in 2014?