Bucs could be in line for top DE

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin wants a better pass rush. Will he get his wish? Well, the Buccaneers are reportedly one of two suitors for one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. If his visit with the Vikings doesn't result in a deal, the Bucs could be his next stop. Find out who he is and how he could impact the Bucs right here.

The word is finally out on Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen, and word is that the pass rusher is focused on two teams as he searches for a trade to get him away from the Chiefs.

Allen told Foxsports.com that the Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have both held trade talks with the Chiefs regarding Allen, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.

According to Glazer, Allen will meet with the Vikings this weekend before a tentative meeting with the Bucs nest week.

"Tentative" is the operative word for next week's meeting, as it's entirely possible Allen might agree to a deal with the Vikings this weekend.

Allen led the NFL last season with 15 ½ quarterbacks sacks, and the Vikings, according to Vikingupdate.com's Tim Yotter, have a serious need at the position. The Vikings' 2004 first-round draft pick Kenechi Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia in January and 2005 first-round draft choice Erasmus James is trying to come back from his third knee surgery over the course of a 13-month period.

The Bucs aren't exactly set at the position, however. Their top returning sack artist of 2007, Greg White, had 8 last year. But he is entering just his second full NFL season in 2008. His opposite, Gaines Adams, had six sacks last year and will enter his sophomore season as well.

Allen would become an instant starter for the Bucs, likely on the left side of the line, as Adams appears to be entrenched on the right side. Gaining Allen would allow the Bucs to keep White in his third-down pass rushing role of a year ago.

But it will be costly, as the Chiefs are reportedly seeking at least two draft choices from the Vikings — and perhaps three — to move Allen.

The Bucs might be inclined to make the deal if given the chance. While the Bucs improved their sack total from 25 in 2006 to 32 in 2007, both general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden are on record as saying they want more improvement in that area in 2008. Plus, by selecting at No. 20 the Buccaneers are unlikely to be able to take a shot at one of the top pass-rushers in the draft, such as Ohio State's Vernon Gholston and Florida's Derrick Harvey.

Yotter reported that the Vikings are believed to have offered their first-round pick and one of their two third-round picks for Allen, but Kansas City is believed to be seeking more picks, possibly a second-round selection in next year's draft. The Vikings have nine selections in next week's draft.

While the Buccaneers only have five selections in next week's draft, they, like the Vikings, have the cap space to accommodate Allen's contract demands, as they are still close to $30 million under the 2008 salary cap.

Allen is purportedly seeking a long-term deal after being slapped with the franchise tag earlier this spring, a designation that will earn him more than $8 million in 2008. Many believe the deal Allen wants is on par with that of Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney, who signed a six-year contract in 2007 for $72 million that included a $15 million signing bonus and a $15 million option bonus.

Yotter spoke to Scout.com's Tom Marino, a former NFL scout, and found the 35-year veteran of player evaluation a bit stunned by the figures being thrown around.

"I don't think (Allen) is worthy of Freeney-type money," said Marino. "He is a high-energy player who had a lot of effort sacks. He has always been high maintenance off the field. He is a lot more powerful than I felt he was as a college player. Can close quickly on the football and his backside effort was very good."

Allen is "high maintenance" due to his off-the-field issues. He received a four-game suspension (later reduced to two games) last offseason for violating the NFL's substance abuse police after he was arrested for DUI.

Vikingreport.com's Tim Yotter and warpaintillustrated's Nick Athan contributed to this report.

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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