Two weeks after free agency began, the Bears made their biggest move, agreeing to terms with star pass rusher Jared Allen on a four-year contract.
The former Vikings defensive end had reportedly been mulling retirement and a contract offer from the Seahawks. On March 12, Phil Emery confirmed the Bears would take a look at Allen, but all had been quiet in the past two weeks.
"We are extremely happy for Jared, his wife Amy, our fans and the Chicago Bears that Jared has agreed to terms and will be joining the Bears family," general manager Phil Emery told the team’s website. "This is another important step in our continued efforts to build our team towards a championship level."
According to multiple reports, Allen’s four-year deal is worth $32 million with $15.5 million fully guaranteed. The contract does void to three years for $24 million.
The Bears created $4 million of extra cap space when they restructured Jay Cutler’s contract on Monday.
Allen, who turns 32 next week, has started every game in the past six seasons for the Vikings. He has missed only three games in his 10-year career and has 128.5 sacks, 50 passes defensed and 29 forced fumbles.
Allen entered the NFL in ’04 with the Chiefs. Playing for the division-rival Vikings, Allen totaled 15 career sacks when playing the Bears. He has recorded at least 11 sacks in each of his last seven seasons.
"We're really excited about adding Jared to our football team," said Marc Trestman. "We know what his abilities bring to the table. Jared is certainly a very experienced player in the league. We believe he's going to come in hungry and excited to be part of our football team, and we believe he'll fit right in with the other new players that we've added and the guys that are already on the defensive side of the ball. I know that our defensive coaches are excited as well."
Allen joins Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, Israel Idonije, Austen Lane and Trevor Scott as the Bears’ six new defensive ends. Expect Allen to start opposite Houston, with Young rotating in as the third defensive end. Houston and Idonije also have the versatility to kick inside to get all three on the field at the same time.
The Bears will introduce Allen at a press conference on Monday.