Jared Allen and the Green Bay Packers: Crazy Enough to Work

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time
NFL, Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, Jared Allen, Packers free agency
Future teammates? It’s so crazy it just might work!

The Green Bay Packers have enjoyed a long run at (or near) the top of the NFC North and their divisional rivals are trying anything to knock Green Bay off of their perch, particularly the Minnesota Vikings.

It’s been a running joke amongst Packers fans for some time now that Minnesota is taking retread Green Bay Players in the hopes of passing them for supremacy in the NFC North.  History certainly makes it look that way, at least.  From Darren Sharper to Brett Favre to most recently Greg Jennings and Desmond Bishop, the Packers’ rivals to the west seem obsessed with getting as many former Green Bay players as they can.

Is it now turn for the Packers to return the favor?

With Sam Shields having recently signed a four-year contract to remain with the Packers, the team now turns its focus to improving the front seven of a defense that has fallen short of expectations three years running.  While safety seems to be the most glaring need on defense at the moment, the Packers also are still in need of improving their pass rush and allow their talented cornerbacks to get some turnovers.

That’s where a former Viking comes into play.  With the future of pretty much the entire defensive line in question (save Datone Jones), Packers general manager Ted Thompson may not be able to fill all the holes through the draft and very well may have to wade into the free agent waters.

If he does, there is one name he should consider and it’s a name that will make many Packers fans cringe: Jared Allen.

With recent reports that Allen will not be returning to Minnesota, he is set to test free agency for the first time in his career.  At the age of 31, Allen still has good years in him and would by no means be a “stop gap” solution for a team.  Adding him to the Green Bay defensive line would immediately add a pass rush and would take a lot of pressure off of Clay Matthews and the linebackers.

On the surface, Allen would not appear to be a “Packer person” and maybe that’s what the defense and the team as a whole needs.  While Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy focused strongly on toughening up their team in 2013, there is still a perception out there the Packers are not a team to bust the opposition in the mouth especially on defense.

Allen would change that perception.  He’d bring a nasty streak to a defense that badly needs it. While Matthews is a terrific player he is far from inspiring the kind of fear in opposing offenses that the truly special linebackers like Ray Lewis did.  Allen did have some off the field issues early in his career, mainly the two DUIs in four months back in 2006.  Since then, he has been a perfect citizen and his philanthropy is well known throughout the state of Minnesota.

At 6’6” and 270 lbs, Allen is lighter than a typical 3-4 defensive end but would allow the Packers to run some more hybrid schemes on defense.  Allen is three inches taller and 15 lbs heavier than Matthews and would fit the mold of a “leaner and meaner” look on defense Green Bay might looking at, denials by McCarthy aside.

A lot of fans would take issue with signing Allen, likely due to the fact that he’s a soon-to-be former Viking and also because of his past.   He has matured nicely since 2006 and has become one of the league’s most elite pass rushers.  Allen has given the Packers fits over the past few years and perhaps that really is why so many people would have an issue signing him.

How possible is it that Allen could land in Green Bay?  Well, he’s reported to be looking at “a chance to win” and also wants a “fair contract.”  After years of playing on a team with mediocre-to-poor quarterback play (Favre in 2009 aside), Allen would likely salivate at the chance to play with Aaron Rodgers.  That alone, in theory, could bring his price down to levels Thompson could work with.

With needs at safety and inside linebacker along with the defensive line, it’s unlikely Thompson can plug all those holes through the draft unilaterally.  He’s almost certainly going to have to bring in at least one free agent.  Adding Allen alone would inject so much into that defense that he’d be crazy to not even at least consider it.

Again, there could be issues schematically in bringing in Allen on a 3-4 team, but if Dom Capers if given someone of Allen’s ability you find room for him.  A defense with both Allen and Matthews on it would be enough to get San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to soil his khakis and finally take notice at what the Packers are doing on defense.

Will this happen? No idea. This year’s free agency period promises to be one of the wildest ones since free agency began just over 20 years ago.  Many think Thompson won’t even consider strong free agents but he really doesn’t have a choice.  His track record in drafting defense is less than stellar and a change in approach is needed.

Allen made more than $14 million with the Vikings in 2013.  That would chew up a decent amount of cap space for the Packers in 2014 but again, playing with Aaron Rodgers might be enough for Allen to come down a little bit.  Between Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, Rodgers is the youngest and is only a year younger than Allen.

The price is the only thing that would make this signing tricky. With extensions for both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb sitting out there in the near future, Thompson would have his work cut out for him making it work.  However, given the results of the past few drafts, Thompson has to get it right this year for the defense.

It’d be a move that would make many fans hold their noses, but bringing Allen on board would go a long way to finally fixing the much maligned Green Bay defense.  If Allen can do that and help get the Packers back to the Super Bowl, then fans would warm up to him very carefully.

Turnabout is fair play, after all.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.


49 thoughts on “Jared Allen and the Green Bay Packers: Crazy Enough to Work

  1. This is such a bad idea on so many fronts, I’m not sure which one to start with.

    First of all, there’s no fit with the Pack and as good as Allen is, he’s always had the benefit of playing with some really good complementary line mates. Not the situation here and to expect him to be a savior is a pipe dream. Not a guy who can carry the load himself.

    Second, there’s the cost. This is not a value play by any stretch. This is likely Allen’s last decent contract shot and someone’s going to go long on ‘has’ more than ‘going to’.

    And then there’s the Vikings thing. Do I really need to go any further with that one?

    1. No problem with the Vikings aspect, but I don’t see how — in any way — Jared Allen fits what the Packers do defensively. Just my $.02.

      He’s not Aaron Kampman, but it’s fair to bring him up. Not every 4-3 defensive end can step in as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and Allen surely can’t play 3-4 defensive end.

  2. On the surface it doesn’t fit, 4-3 guy, Viking and maybe expensive. But if the Packers are interested in improving their front seven and want to get to the opposing QB it is worth exploring. If the Packers are going to expand their playbook and move away from typical 3-4 technique and body types, then Allen just might fit. If he does go early and for too much, there might be a chance.

    Just crazy enough that it might work.

    1. OK, if you draft someone and you are pleasantly surprised how good he is, then yeah… you find a way to get him on the field, even if he doesn’t really fit the scheme.

      That DOESN’T mean that you go out and intentionally sign a player for big money even though he doesn’t fit your scheme.

      Just sign a guy who fits your scheme better.

      1. Of course, you could stand steadfast to a scheme and personnel and get mixed or poor results for a long time. Getting good players and building a good defense doesn’t need to be handicapped by doctrine.

        1. You don’t change a scheme for one player, especially when that player is not even on your roster, and even more so when there are other players in free agency who DO fit your scheme and are better, younger players anyway.

    2. 2 words for you… Aaron Kampman

      It was painful to watch him try to play in the 34, it would be worse w/ Allen.

      Viqueens take our rejects. We DON’T take theirs!

      1. There’s this myth that Kampman was doing poorly as a 3-4 OLB.

        He -looked- awkward. But he -performed- very well for what ended up being only months at the position.

        He was leading the league in QB hits and pressures (although he wasn’t getting the sacks, just missing them), and while he looked stiff and awkward when he dropped into coverage, he did not give up many pass plays at all.

        Kampman hated it, but he was actually making the conversion quite successfully.

        Lastly, Jarred Allen can’t be compared to Kampman in this sense. Kampman was a very good power end, Jarred Allen (was) an elite athletic/speed rusher.

        1. Kampman was playing DE at 270. He was no longer a power DE. He was all about technique hislast 2yrs at DE. Allen no longer has any athletic ability. He doesn’t have much ability any more period.

          They are both fish out of water as 34 OLB no matter how much you sugar coat it.

  3. “Because he’s a Viking” is a truly stupid reason not to sign him. This isn’t high school and we’re not stealing each other’s mascots before Homecoming.

    If you want to talk about professional football, then the cost and awkward scheme fit are valid negatives to signing Jered Allen. Otherwise, we need to compete under the same standard as the rest of the league.

    1. I’d like to say I respect your position, but your horse seems a bit tall.

      Perhaps you forget the general material that this organization, from owner to players, is crafted from.

      Because he’s a Viking is perhaps the very best reason to let him walk on by. Unless you really believe that someone steeped in a losing tradition, working for a criminal owner, with a succession of nutjobs as coaches and a roster that looks like a season’s worth of perps from the show Cops would be a good guy to have in the locker room.

      Nothing those scumbags across the Mississippi do could be construed as ‘high-school’. Day care? Closer to the truth.

  4. The guy would be a pass rush specialist, nothing more. I live in Minny and Allen at this stage of his career is a run-defense liability. He would have to be substituted in, something he has vocalized he doesn’t want and he has zero ability to drop into coverage. He is not a good fit for the Packers and the chances of this happening are as close to zero as possible. GoPack!

  5. I’d rather see Thompson make a run at Arthur Jones or Lamarr Houston, but if Allen could help the Packers win a playoff game against someone other than Joe Webb, who cares where he comes from. If Allen came to the Packers, collected 15 sacks and the Packers won the SB, NO ONE would be complaining Allen was a Viking.

    1. I’d love to see the Packers attempt to pick up Jabaal Sheard next season when/if he hits free agency.. He’s the DE to OLB project I wanted badly out of the draft a few years ago. I think with CMIII, Perry, Sheard, and (hopefully) Neal @ OLB, we’d have one hell of a stable.

  6. Crazy? Yes.

    Crazy enough to work? I very highly doubt it.

    If I’m TT, I don’t want any part of it.

  7. This was reported on the NFL website;

     Packers are among the teams interested inOakland Raiders free agent Lamarr Houston, per Rapoport.

    They also have shown interest in Baltimore Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.

    i would be more interested in this then J. Allen

  8. I love JA’s intensity and work ethic. Also I feel he would love spending a couple years with a perennial contender. That being said, there is zero chance this happens. He doesn’t fit into our defense one bit. See Aaron Kampman.

    1. See my reply to Stroh’s post above. Kampman was performing fine at OLB, even if he didn’t like the move.

  9. I would take him in a second, at the right price of course. Just the fact that he actually plays a whole season is better than anything we have. As great as Matthews is, he only plays about half of a season. At the right price Allen will fit.

    1. I tend to agree, but his name, background and position will price him out of the Packer market.

      Someone else said that he’s not much more than a situational pass rusher at this point, but he’s likely to get paid as a starter. Too rich for the Packers, but the thought of him as a situational guy playing across from CMIII? I like that.

      1. Teams could very easily go no huddle into passing downs which would keep Allen on the bench. So we would end up paying a guy a lot to watch on passing downs pretty often.

        Any team w/ a good veteran QB can do that and most of them do to some degree. If they think they have personnel of the field that can win the down they don’t need to huddle which prevents substitutions.

  10. I wouldn’t mind it if they got him for a good, low, cap-friendly price.

    A-Rod wanted Robison a couple years back, although I think that was before the Nutcracker Incident.

  11. The first time he would blow past a left tackle and nail a QB for a loss, Packers fans would forget all the pissing and moaning about signing him if we in fact, did so.

    1. As long as there was a stipulation in his contract about not doing that *&^$#@ sack ‘celebration’.

  12. In 1994, former long-time New Orlean Saint and future Hall of Famer Pat Swilling, signed with the 49ers for the league minimum of 400k+, just so he could have a chance to win a Super Bowl. There is always a chance that if/when some guys have earned millions and have been smart enough to plan their future financial life and security, they can get down to scratching things off their bucket list. Allen may be at the point where he may only have two or three seasons left to fulfill that dream.

    1. And speaking of studs from New Orleans… in 2002 the Packers signed free agent pass-rusher extraordinaire Joe Johnson to an ginormous six year, 33 million dollar contract, despite the fact that he was already 30 years old and clearly in decline. He played in 11 games for the Packers over the next two years, recording a total of 2 sacks. In 2004 he was cut and never played NFL football again. He was one of the worst signings in the entire history of NFL free agency.

      1. That signing was courtesy of HC/GM Mike Sherman.

        Before being traded to the Vikings, many were hoping GB would trade for him. IIRC, GB played a 4-3 then and didn’t show much interest. KC was demanding two first round draft choices and many teams, including GB, weren’t intersted at that price.

        I don’t see TT going after him unless Allen agrees to the league minimum.

  13. I, think Jarred Allen can help us lots.
    Thought his contract was to much, last time. But, he earned his money. It is a very hard call, as he will demand lots of money again. Gilbert Brown, came from The Vikings. I, would like to have him.

  14. Two words: NO. WAY.

    Allen is not a 34 DE. He’s not a 34 OLB. Why add an old/miscast Mike Neal who will want to get paid well?

    He’ll go to a 43 team outside the division, or the Bears will replace Peppers with Allen. Either way, he won’t be on GB’s roster. And he shouldn’t be.

  15. Burke must be stuck in 2011. Allen hasn’t been good in a while, even as a 4-3 DE. graded 34th among 4-3 DE’s last year and 25th a year before (out of 30-some starting 4-3 DE’s in league). No thanks. A)he’s washed up, B) he is turning 32 and on the decline, C) it’s the wrong scheme. that’d be even worse than the Jeff Saturday signing.

  16. If Green Bay runs more hybrid and single gap 3/4 Allen could work. He is an active pass rusher and an impact player. The issue is the cost.

  17. If Green Bay runs more hybrid and single gap 3/4 Allen could work. He is an active pass rusher and an impact player. The issue is the cost.

  18. If Green Bay runs more hybrid and single gap 3/4 Allen could work. He is an active pass rusher and an impact player. The issue is the cost.

    1. I understand that saying it once just isn’t enough sometimes… But really FIVE (5) times? LMAO

  19. Allen would play like a madman opposite Clay. It would take 4 O-lineman to keep them out of the backfield. Then the fat bastard Jaba the Hut Raji could even look good. Yeah that would really suck because he is an ex viking. Wouldn’t be worth a superbowl appearance because he is an ex viking. You guys are right…

  20. Jared Allen’s play went way down last year, in a contract year. He is getting old and would be a huge mistake for GB.

Comments are closed.