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Bears sweeten the pot to land Jared Allen
Something happened while Jared Allen was weighing contract offers from the Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. The Chicago Bears swooped in and made the five-time Pro Bowl defensive end an offer he not only couldn’t refuse, but one that was closer to what Allen has been looking for since becoming an unrestricted free agent two weeks ago.
As a result, Allen is taking his pass-rush talents to Chicago after agreeing to terms on a four-year deal, the Bears announced Wednesday morning. The contract is reportedly worth much more – up to $32 million – than either the Seahawks or Cowboys could offer.
“The Bears came in last minute and everything worked out,” Allen said in a text to ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder.
The Seahawks did what they could to lure Allen to Seattle after meeting with him at Virginia Mason Athletic Center twice during the process. During the second visit last Friday, Allen was accompanied by his wife, Amy, and their daughter, Brinley.
But general manager John Schneider acknowledged at the NFL Annual Meeting on Tuesday that the Seahawks had little wiggle room in negotiations with the player who has produced double-digit sacks the past seven seasons while playing for the Minnesota Vikings (2008-13) and Kansas City Chiefs (2007).
“We’re limited in what we can do in terms of our cap space and what we want to do with our young football team, and he has a limit, too, in terms of what he can do,” Schneider told NFL.com. “There just has to be a balance. We had a great visit, he’s a great guy, has a great family.
“He’s a prideful man; he’s accomplished a lot in this league, so anything that we were able to offer was not out of disrespect or anything. It was just trying to fit the pieces together.”
And for the Seahawks, those pieces go beyond the free agents on the market this year. Schneider has said everything the club does this year will be impacted by what it has to do in the next few years – which includes signing Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson and the All-Pro duo of free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman to contract extensions.
“We’re very restricted in what we can do,” coach Pete Carroll said this week during a radio interview at the owners’ meetings. “We have a lot of work to get done on our roster, a lot of guys we’ve got to work with. We’re excited about extending and stuff like that. So we have a lot of concerns.”