Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen has had an above average start to his NFL career, but his off-the-field issues show that he's a long way from being the leader of this defense. After contract talks hit an angry level Saturday evening, Allen demanded a trade.
For the record, I'm a big Allen fan and I consider him one of KC's better defenders. In 2006 a pair of DUIs led to a two-day stay in jail. Unfortunately, that overshadowed his performance on the field.
Allen is a wild dog who, for the most part, enjoys life the way most of us ordinary fans dream about. His engaging personality is one people gravitate to, but at times has been a detriment.
With his trade demands he's looking like someone who hasn't learned his lesson. Allen's drinking problems are bad enough, but what can end an NFL career faster than a pair of DUIs is an agent who plays the wrong card with an NFL general manager.
Ken Harris, Allen's agent, proposed astronomical numbers at the start of contract talks with the Chiefs. Harris felt that despite Allen's off-the-field issues, his 26 ½ sacks the last three years makes him one of the NFL's elite pass rushers.
That's not the case. Though Allen possesses talent beyond any other pass rusher the Chiefs have on the roster, he isn't a Pro-Bowl caliber player – at least not yet. He's not consistent play in and play out. He doesn't take over games like Jason Taylor, or even an aging Michael Strahan.
Harris' seven-year, $50 million dollar offer was quickly rejected by the Chiefs. In recent weeks the two sides came to the same conclusion that any contract would include protection for future off-the-field incidents, but that's as far as the two sides came together.
Now Carl Peterson will do the only thing he can do – offer Allen a one-year tender worth $2.35 million. That's still great money for a player who has turned parts of his career around after falling in the draft three years ago – again, due to some off-the-field incidents.
More bad news for Allen is that the NFLPA and the owners have been discussing a change in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It could include a three-strike rule that would ban an NFL player from the league for life – Allen currently has two strikes.
The NFL has problems, but they have a system in place to scare the incoming draft class straight when they enter the league. Allen is a player who went through that same program with the Chiefs.
Though it worked initially, he's still put himself and his teammates in jeopardy. Regardless of where he plays next season, he'll likely sit out the first four games of 2007. That pretty much torpedoes any leverage both he and his agent have in signing with another team.
Allen shot off his mouth, demanded a trade and went running to the press. That's the old Allen, the one that got in trouble all the time. Let's hope over the next week or two a new Allen emerges and starts to act like the leader this football team needs him to be, especially if they're going to have success in 2007.
If he can't turn this around, his career may have already peaked in a Chiefs uniform. That would be a shame for both Allen and the fans in Kansas City that have supported him despite his ups and downs.
Bad Move By Allen
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