Jared Allen is in the final year of the contract he signed in 2008, after being traded from Kansas City to Minnesota, and there are a number of reasons we thought the team might approach him about a contract extension.
First, outside of some recent injury troubles, Allen has shown little in the way of regression and continues to be one of the NFL’s more exciting players to watch on Sundays. He is still a game changer, and provided one of my favorite moments ever in a Vikings game this last season (crappy video here), and still produces like an elite pass rusher is expected to. Despite being 31 years old, and having some talented younger options on the roster, Allen is a really good player to simply let become a free agent in 2014.
Second, and most importantly, Allen will earn a $14.28 million salary this season and carries a cap hit of $17 million. In an offseason where the Vikings were perceived to have more needs than the cap could cover many of us speculated that he would be an obvious option for a reduced cap hit via a contract extension. “Restructuring” was brought up a lot by some, but the fact is that if a player is in the final year of their contract then a restructuring instead of an extension equates to nothing more than a pay cut.
And it sound like Allen recognizes this.
“You use the word restructure and that to me makes it feel like they’d want me to take a pay cut,” Allen told Dan Wiederer of Access Vikings. “And if anybody asked me to take a pay cut, I’d be through the first door out of there. So no. We haven’t talked one iota. It is what it is. And we’re going to go about our business and play good ball and try to win a Super Bowl. And like I said the business stuff? We take care of that in the offseason. I have people to do that. That’s why I don’t get into it. You’re not going to hear it from me. I won’t complain. I go about my business.”
Allen taking a hard stance on his financial situation should not surprise anyone. After all, it was that same stubbornness, after being franchised by the Chiefs after his rookie contract expired, that got him traded to Minnesota in the first place. Allen has played better football in Minnesota than he did with the Chiefs, and has also put his DUI problems deep into the past, so it is no wonder that he doesn’t consider his value to be decreasing from the day he signed that $73 million contract.
Barring a disaster of some sort in 2013, it seems unlikely that the Vikings would simply let Allen leave next offseason, as he is a team leader that helps recruit free agents (such as Greg Jennings) to join his team’s crusade for a Super Bowl victory. The fact that the Vikings haven’t even approached him about his contract status, however, doesn’t give me any warm and fuzzies in regards to Allen finishing his career in purple.
The lack of warm and fuzzies might be exactly what the Vikings want, though, as it’ll be just that much more motivation for Allen to give 110% to this upcoming season.