Jared Allen is in his sixth season with the Vikings and is currently a cap hit of just over $17 million. He has seen a decline in his production over the last three seasons, which poses the question, is a Jared Allen trade inconceivable? Daniel House doesn't think so, he explains this and more in his latest post.
Yesterday, Brian Robison agreed to terms on a 4-year extension as first reported by Tom Pelissero of the USA Today. Robison's extension is reportedly four years, $28.3 million with $13.15 million guaranteed and $5 million to sign. This helped the Vikings salary cap situation, but only cleared around $200,000 in the process. This leaves the front office with their backs against wall, especially after signing Josh Freeman earlier in the week. If the team has an injury occur, they will need to make several adjustments to the roster, unless they make more roster moves in the coming days. Furthermore, the Vikings brass has taken part in negotiations with defensive end Everson Griffen about a contract extension. Reportedly both parties are in the preliminary stages and are starting to begin serious discussions about contract details. Could this soon signal the end of Jared Allen's tenure in Minnesota? I believe so, especially with the sense of urgency surrounding the extensions of Brian Robison and Everson Griffen. It could merely be an effort to free salary cap space after signing Josh Freeman, but I think this could signal an interest to trade Jared Allen.
The Vikings are in a position to make the move, especially if they decide to lock up Everson Griffen to a multi-year extension. Not only would it clear nearly $14.5 in cap space, but it could provide nice compensation for the Vikings to upgrade their defense in next year's draft. Let's face it, Jared Allen is in the declining stages of his career and if the Vikings could receive compensation for him, it makes perfect sense. No team who trades for Allen will have the means nor the interest to handle Allen's $17 million cap hit, which means he would need to restructure his deal after the trade is completed.
The Vikings could be in a position to pick up compensation for Allen with a very high pick or a talented young player from another team. Ultimately, we all know the probability is high the Vikings won't be able to afford the kind of money Allen is seeking this off season. This team needs help in the back end of the defense and if the quarterback carousel experiment doesn't work out, they made need leverage to draft one in the early stages of April's draft. If Allen leaves at the end of the 2013 season and the Vikings lose out on any potential compensation, this team gains nothing out of the deal. It would be different if this team was sitting with a record of 3-1 at this stage, but they are 1-3 and have nothing to lose at this point in time. If they lose to the Panthers this week, this topic could be discussed at a even higher level.
Jared Allen is two years removed from a 22 sack season, but his sack total dropped to 12 last year. Now, Allen currently is sitting steady with 3.5 sacks, 2.5 of which came against a reeling Steelers offensive line. Allen is 31 years old and is a veteran and leader of this team in many facets, but the Vikings front office is looking towards the future development at areas of weakness among this team.
If the Vikings move Allen, they would be able to make more moves to improve this roster and more importantly, would free $14.5 million in cap space to add help to areas of weakness among this riddled defense.
A team like the San Francisco 49ers could use a pass rusher while Aldon Smith is currently in the rehab program for his character issues. As I said earlier, any team that wishes to make a deal with the Vikings would need to restructure his deal and look to open the door to many financial avenues. The issue the 49ers will face is their cap situation, which is near the bottom of the league and only leaves them $935,648 in free cap space (according to Over the Cap). They would have to ask several players to restructure and make it happen financially, but if the Vikings could receive compensation through the draft to the effect of a first round pick, this move makes sense for the future of the Vikings franchise as they look to improve over the coming years in the league.
This is merely a discussion piece, but given the latest developments and the urgency surrounding the Vikings interest to extend Brian Robison and Everson Griffen, the move could come sooner rather than later. It could simply be a mirage, but given Allen's contract situation and his age, signs point to a trade being a possibility.