Bears gave DE Jared Allen a four-year, $32M deal that voids down to three years of $24M, of which $15.5M is fully guaranteed.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2014
There was nothing the Seahawks could do about this.
In an off-season where a banged up, soon-to-be 32-year-old Demarcus Ware and a declining 34-year-old Julius Peppers both got paid — it was pretty stunning that Jared Allen lasted this long on the open market.
For me he’s the better player. He’s younger, plays a ton of snaps and his production has shown no signs of dropping off as he approaches his 32nd birthday.
Seattle saw an opportunity and tried to recapture last years magic.
Could they do it again? Grab an established pass rusher with a stalling market and bring him in on the cheap?
It sounds like they came pretty close. But this time someone else stepped up to the plate. They went over Seattle’s threshold, paying about $8m a year on average.
Good for Chicago, and good for Allen. It works out well for both parties.
The Seahawks just move on. They weren’t going to pay Jared Allen more than Michael Bennett. Not when he turns 32 later this year.
They’ve now got more than enough money to extend at least Earl Thomas and possibly Richard Sherman this off-season. That’s the next priority.
There’s no crisis here. Signing Allen was merely one of the few moves they could’ve made to improve an already dangerous pass rush.
It just creates an opportunity for somebody else.
Pete Carroll revealed today that Tony McDaniel will replace Red Bryant as the five technique and Cliff Avril will replace Chris Clemons at right end.
Dan Quinn recently stated he felt Bruce Irvin “was in the right spot” at strongside linebacker and would stay there. You have to wonder if he might convert back to defensive end following today’s news?
Perhaps not coincidentally, the team website is now listing Irvin as a ‘DE’ again after switching his description to ‘LB’ last season.
You could argue they haven’t got much to lose. Irvin is 27 in November and you don’t often draft athletic SAM linebacker-converts with the #15 pick in any draft.
You have a need at end, you drafted the guy to be the “ideal LEO”.
Maybe it’s time to give him another shot there?
No prizes for guessing what Bruce wants to happen…
— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) March 26, 2014
Certainly nobody can begrudge Malcolm Smith an opportunity to move into a starting role. Aside from winning the Super Bowl MVP award, he finished the season with four interceptions in five games — and returned two for touchdowns.
Irvin could replace Avril, doubling up on the left side with Bennett. K.J. Wright could start at the SAM, Bobby Wagner at the MIKE and Smith at the WILL.
As for the rest of the defensive line rotation — Jordan Hill is almost guaranteed to get more playing time as a former third round pick. Benson Mayowa was protected on the roster throughout 2013 and will get another chance to compete in camp.
Greg Scruggs is returning from injury, while Mike Brooks, D’Anthony Smith, Dewayne Cherrington, Kenneth Boatright and Jesse Williams remain on the roster.
Would you bet against one of those players really stepping up to the mark next year, in the same vein as Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald?
My money’s on Brooks for what it’s worth. He flashed throughout pre-season last year and had an impact in the road game against Arizona.
They could re-sign O’Brien Schofield and/or another veteran.
So what about the draft?
With the interest in Allen, I’d started to focus on receivers and the offensive linemen for picks #32 and #64.
I’m not sure anything dramatically changes off the back of one players decision, but I’m at least willing to broaden those horizons a little bit following today’s news.
The big problem is — you’d be fighting the draft to take a defensive lineman at #32 unless a Ra’Shede Hageman falls or someone of that ilk. This isn’t a top-heavy draft on the D-line. It’s loaded with first or second round receivers, and a fair few offensive line prospects who deserve to go in the first frame.
Personally I’d rather wait until later on and look at the following players:
Marcus Smith (DE, Louisville) — LEO style prospects — 6-3 and 251lbs, ran a 4.68 at the combine. Long arms (34 inches) and great production (13.5 sacks in 2013). Really good player who’s flying under the radar. Worth a look in round two, but if you can move down from #64 and get him in the third — even better.
Brent Urban (DT, Virginia) — Really tough, long defensive tackle. Dogged by injuries this off-season after a fleeting visit to the Senior Bowl. On tape he really looks the part and he might fall due to the injuries. A smart team will capitalise. He’s 6-7, 295lbs with long arms. He could be one of the steals of the draft and a huge impact player.
Demarcus Lawrence (DE, Boise State) — Another long pass rusher who also put up decent numbers this year. Has similar size to Marcus Smith — he’s a shade under 6-3, 251lbs with almost identical arm length. He ran a disappointing 4.80 though. His game speed looks a lot faster on tape.
Taylor Hart (DE, Oregon) — Graded in the round 4-5 range, he’s another tall, versatile lineman. Doesn’t have the longest arms for his height (just under 33 inches) but reports suggested he ran a 4.78 at his pro-day. There’s plenty to work with here.
Chris Whaley (DT, Texas) & Dominique Easley (DT, Florida) — Two redshirt types you can stash. Both are recovering from serious injuries — and both flashed big time potential in college. Ideal interior pass rushers, in particular Easley who was a beast at Florida. He’s a sure-fire first rounder without two ACL injuries in college.
Will Clarke (DE, West Virginia) — 6-6 and 271lbs, with nearly 35 inch arms. Ran a 4.77 at the combine. Tape is poor for the most part — doesn’t play up to his size and he’s pretty ‘meh’ as a pass rusher. Physically he has all the tools. Worth a day three pick to see if you can coach him up.
James Gayle (DE, Virginia Tech) — 6-4 and 259lbs, ran a 4.68 at the combine. He also managed a 37 inch vertical. Strong in the upper body and will be able to compete. More of a rotational pass rusher but for a late round flier you might as well take a look. High motor. Has NFL bloodlines.
Caruan Reid (DT, Princeton) — Looked really smooth at the combine. 6-2 and 302lbs, ran a 4.91. He has 33 inch arms. He’ll need some technical refining as a pro but he turned a few heads in Indianapolis.
Deandre Coleman (DT, California) — I’ll watch more of his tape before the draft. My initial impression is — good run stuffer, could be plugged in as a rotational guy. Moves well for his size but will be drafted predominantly to defend the run.
There’s depth to be had in this draft right into day three. So nobody should be panicking about needing to go defense in round one, or missing out on Jared Allen.
I’ll have a new mock draft available tomorrow.