Free agent defensive end Jared Allen is making a big decision this weekend. Should he play for the Super Bowl champions as a “spot” rusher or play for as a starter for America’s Team…who are currently struggling to make the playoffs? And there’s always the option to simply walk-away from both offers and look for a better deal elsewhere. But Allen’s decision could ultimately have the biggest impact on the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s look at the Pros and Cons of signing the former Minnesota Viking.
Let’s start with the positives: 128.5 sacks in a ten-year career. That’s nearly a 13 sack per season average! Although his age will be a concern, Allen is coming off an effective season in Minnesota recording 52 tackles and 11.5 sacks. He’s also durable. Allen has played in every game for the last six years. Despite his mercurial personality on-the-field, Allen is a humanitarian and stalwart outside of it. His positive presence in the community will be felt wherever he decides to lay his cowboy hat.
The Cowboys obviously lost a lot, if not all, of their pass rush when they lost defensive end DeMarcus Ware and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher last week to free agency. Adding Allen, combined with newly acquired defensive tackle Henry Melton, would arguably give Dallas a much better pass rush than they had last year. And that’s not saying much as the Cowboys had the worst defense in the NFL last season. I also think an Allen signing would revitalize the excitement for a team who’s three consecutive 8-8 seasons without a playoff appearance have left several battle-scars upon it’s loyal fan-base.
The biggest issues involving Allen are his age and his price tag. The former fourth round pick out of Idaho State back in 2004 is actually older than former Cowboys Ware and Hatcher. Both of whom were let go due to their ages and price tags just last week. To bring in Allen would seem to be a complete 180° in the Cowboys current direction. That is unless he is a bargain financially. Which is presumably what is holding up this deal and what Allen is mulling over at this moment. Dallas wants Allen, but only at the right price.
Speaking of price, Allen demands a big one. According to several reports, he was looking for a salary around $10 million a season. It appears now he’s accepted that amount of money is simply not out there for him at this age. Instead, he’ll have to decide whether to play with past champions in Seattle or to bring a championship to his home town in Dallas.
According to overthecap.com, the Seahawks currently have $15.3 million in cap space available. That would be more than enough to sign Allen, but they obviously don’t want him at his full price. Their leverage is they are favored by many to win another Super Bowl this season. That same site says Dallas currently has $6.4 million in available cap space. Not really close to what Allen is wanting or even as much as Seattle can offer Allen. Still, he appears torn. From the outside looking in it appears Allen’s heart wants Dallas, but his head says Seattle.
The bottom line is: Dallas wants Allen. But they are not willing to sacrifice their future in order to get him. But at the right price, one that is fair to both him and the franchise, his signing could be pivotal to an immediate defensive turnaround in Big “D”. If he decides to go elsewhere, it simply puts more pressure on the Cowboys to have an outstanding draft in May.