Jared Allen has recorded double-digit sacks in each of the last seven seasons. That’s a right defensive end the way it oughta be.
The way Julius Peppers used to be.
The way the Bears need one to be.
Even before introducing new defensive end Lamarr Houston on Wednesday, Bears general manager Phil Emery stressed that he has a lot of work to do.
And he still has to do it on the defensive line, even after adding Houston.
And he has to do it at the same position, in fact. A position that Allen plays better than Houston and every other Bear.
Allen is 31, and while he doesn’t fit Emery’s declaration that the defense will get younger, the former Viking who terrorized Bears quarterbacks certainly fits the idea of getting better.
Here’s the deal: Allen is someone for whom Bears opponents would have to game-plan. Nobody else on the Bears' defense gets that kind of respect.
Allen is more important than signing another cornerback or safety because his sack rate and the attention he draws help deodorize bad coverage.
The Bears have tricked-up some contracts that allow them to create room under the salary cap. Whether it’s enough to satisfy Allen, I don’t know. DeMarcus Ware’s $10 million a year in Denver after getting cut in Dallas probably is the ceiling, but because Denver found it too expensive, Allen is probably a little more affordable today.
It’s a big number. Bigger than Houston. But then, Allen is better than Houston. Better than any Bears lineman by a lot.
That’s why, in my world, Allen deserves some Bears urgency.
In Emery’s world, not so much. Emery wants to let the market settle.
The fear is that Allen will settle in somewhere else and the Bears will have to settle for, I don’t know, injured Corey Wooton again. Good luck selling that defense as playoff quality.
Allen looks like the best prosthetic for a dismembered defense that urgently needs to improve to match the dynamic offense before that window closes. That’s the point, that window. That window ought to dictate the Bears’ moves. That window is the length of Jay Cutler’s contract, specifically the three guaranteed years.
Same would go for Allen, wherever he goes. Whatever money Allen wants, the most a team will have to worry about is three years. Nobody finishes an NFL contract. Cutler never will get all seven years of his deal. He’ll get three, and that means this dynamic Bears offense has only three years to win a Super Bowl.
They cannot win a Super Bowl with the defense we saw last season or the window dressing we’ve seen this offseason. They at least can play their way into the conversation with Allen in uniform.Copyright © 2015, RedEye