Jared Allen’s contract is up after this year and his future with the Vikings is very much up in the air. Thus far the Vikes have shown zero interest in talking contract extension with the defensive end who turns 32 next April. There had been speculation that the Vikes might offer Allen a Tom Brady-like deal that would knock down his massive 2013 cap number in exchange for more money down the road but it doesn’t seem that is going to happen. For now both sides seem content to let Allen’s contract expire and see what happens from there.
Allen himself is playing it close to the vest. When asked about his playing future in Minnesota Allen said, “I talk to my wife. And we’ll end up going where the good Lord takes us. But I don’t know where that path is headed.” Allen has also made it clear he will not redo his 2013 deal and take less money. Any contract talks between the Vikes and Allen will have to involve an extension.
Some are reading bitterness into Allen’s comments but I’m not sure I agree. He is just playing out the situation the way he should play it out. He knows the Vikings are not going to cut him. So the Vikes have no leverage in making him come to the table and redo the last year of his deal. He can take the nearly $17 million owed him for 2013 and test the free agent market. He will be 32 next year, aging but not yet ancient. If he plays well in 2013 he will have a decent shot at scoring one last healthy contract.
Edge rushers still have value in the NFL and Jared knows that. He is in a much different boat than Kevin Williams who, as an aging interior linemen, had no leverage whatsoever and was forced to take a pay cut for 2013. Jared can play it out and take his chances on the open market, believing some team out there will give him the money Minnesota is not willing to offer.
The Vikings for their part are in no hurry to lock up Jared Allen. This should be no surprise considering his age. Rick Spielman doesn’t do big money deals with guys in their early 30s. And as for 2013? $17 million is a big cap number, but it’s not like the Vikings are in danger of going over the cap. They have no urgent need to free up money right now. They are willing to let this play out just as Jared is.
But what happens once 2014 rolls around? As I said before, there will be a market for Jared’s services if he plays well in 2013. Given Spielman’s MO, I would not expect the Vikes to get involved in a bidding war. They are simply not going to lay out big money for a guy Jared’s age. A good 2013 season for Jared Allen likely means we will see Jared Allen in a different uniform come 2014. Unless I am overestimating the value of edge rushers on the open market.
If Allen is only mediocre in 2013, I could see the Vikings bringing him back on a one- or two-year deal in 2014. It all depends on Allen’s on-field performance this year. He’s playing for one last big payday. And even if he doesn’t get it, he’s still got the $17 million coming. Either way, dude is making bank.