Allen deal is in Hunt's hands

In the discussion of a likely trade of Pro-Bowl defensive end Jared Allen, not many people are talking about Clark Hunt. After a disappointing 2007 season, Hunt made it known he wants to see improvement and also made it clear he wants KC's best player to remain a Chief for a long time.

Back in January, Hunt and I sat down in his Owner's Suite to discuss the 2007 season, the future of head coach Herm Edwards, and his relationship with general manager Carl Peterson. We also talked about Allen.

"Jared and I have a very good relationship," said Hunt. "I know he knows that I want him to be a Chief for many years and hopefully retire a Chief. I'm very hopeful that we'll be able to work out a long-term contract for him this offseason because it is our intent for Jared to be here for many years."

Hunt now has an opportunity to make good on that intention.

He has a difficult task following in the footsteps of his father, Lamar. He has shoes to fill that many men would shy away from.

Lamar groomed his son for this very moment - the moment where he must use his power and decide to trade Allen or rebuild the franchise with younger players who can potentially make the Chiefs competitive in a short amount of time.

Hunt will wrestle with that dilemma over the next 24 hours. As of Saturday, Allen remains in lockdown in Minnesota, with plans to leave town and head to Tampa Bay to meet with the Buccaneers.

The Vikings are in panic mode because they know if Allen leaves town, the chance to secure his services will diminish significantly. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told the Minnesota Tribune last week that the team has done their homework on Allen and has no intention of signing him to an offer sheet. Wilf indicated that sending the Vikings 2008 and 2009 first-round draft picks was too steep a price to pay for Allen.

Wilf appears to have a lot to learn about the price of winning.

Meanwhile, Hunt has seen first-hand the price of winning and losing. In the last two years, he's seen the Chiefs reach the playoffs before tumbling to 4-12.

Hunt hates losing, but signed off on the decision by Edwards and Peterson to rebuild through the draft. By doing that, he almost guaranteed it would take a perfect offseason for the Chiefs to increase the number of wins they managed a year ago.

The bigger issue for Hunt concerns the rest of the football team. Every other player on KC's roster is watching the Allen situation with great interest at the moment. Some will become stars and might eventually be faced with the exact same situation Allen is in now – trying to get a long term deal from the Chiefs.

Hunt has to make the right decision, because he's the only person with enough power to make this trade or get Allen back into the Chiefs' family.

That's not a knock against Peterson or Edwards, but the buck stops with Clark Hunt.

Today he must weigh the potential gain for his franchise if the Vikings overpay for Allen. But on the flip side of the coin, he has to understand the impact of trading one of the most beloved players in franchise history.

Allen has had his ups and downs in Kansas City, but there is no mistaking the fact that he's the leader of the defense. Based on the interest level of the four teams pursuing him at the moment, it's not a stretch to consider him an elite player.

I can see the merit in trading Allen for draft picks. As much as I like him - and I've been fortunate to get to know him on a personal level - it's probably the right thing to do.

However, it's not often a team finds players with this much talent. But in Allen's eyes the bridge has been burned. His relationship with Peterson is ultimately the primary factor in this stalemate.

But before we blame Peterson, it should be noted that signing Allen to an enormous contract might not be wise.

Allen is a great player, but has holes in his game. I can show you the stats concerning his lack of sacks in the fourth quarter – where most games are decided. It's common knowledge he isn't the league's most prolific run defender.

So Hunt has a tough decision to make, because no matter what happens, it will be his first major move since his father passed away.

That's a lot of pressure, but I expect Hunt will make the right decision. Either way, Chiefs fans should feel secure he's the one making the call.

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