Jared Allen was right all along. The veteran defensive end made two trips to Seattle and came close to reaching an agreement with the Seahawks, but deep down, he believed he was worth more and could get more money elsewhere.
He was correct. Allen agreed to a four-year deal for $32 million with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday. It includes $15.5 million in guaranteed money. That’s more money than the Seahawks were offering in the total deal.
Seattle was willing to pay Allen between $12 million and $13 million over two years. The guaranteed money probably was around $8 million. Allen and his wife, Amy, made a second trip to Seattle last week, usually a good sign that a deal will get done, but the Allens surprisingly walked away.
Allen said he wanted to think about it. His agent, Ken Harris, said Allen was considering other offers. But no one knew of any better offers that were on the table, so most people assumed Allen would still sign with the Seahawks or possibly retire, as he had threatened earlier.
Allen believed a team would step up and value him more for what he has done in his career -- double-figure sacks in each of the last seven seasons.
He patiently waited for a better deal, and it came from the Bears on Tuesday night. Allen will replace Julius Peppers, whom the Bears released March 11. Peppers was scheduled to make $14 million in 2014, and he counted $20 million toward the salary cap.
Chicago signed former Oakland defensive end Lamarr Houston to a five-year deal for $35 million, so it appeared Chicago was done on the defensive end search. Signing Allen was a surprise, especially to the Seahawks.
Less than 30 minutes before the announcement was made Wednesday morning, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was still waiting to hear from Allen.
Even with the signing of Houston, the Bears had money to spend, more money than Seattle. Two days ago, Carroll said the Seahawks were limited in what they could offer because they were looking to extend other contracts.
He didn’t mention any names, but it’s clear Carroll was talking about free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman, who will be free agents at the end of the 2014 season if extensions aren’t worked out.
Allen’s decision wasn’t just about money. Two other things factored into it. One is playing time. Allen has played more snaps than any defensive end in the NFL over the last five years.
Sources also said that Allen’s wife was not enamored with Seattle in her two visits and didn’t like the city. Really? Maybe she was here on a couple of typical rainy and gray winter days, but enjoy those winters in Chicago.
The best thing the Seahawks had to offer Allen was a chance to play for a team that just won the Super Bowl and has a good chance to return. The Bears were 8-8 last season and believe they can contend for a playoff spot this season. It also gives Allen a chance to play twice a season against his former teammates in Minnesota.
So Allen walked away from Seattle’s offer and got what he wanted. The Seahawks offered what they could, and it wasn’t enough. But the bottom line for Seattle remains the same in looking ahead to the big-money deals to come for Thomas, Sherman and quarterback Russell Wilson.