Monday, January 23, 2023

Jared Allen—The Next Edge Rusher in Line?

 By John Turney 
Of course, anything is possible but it is impossible to think of a scenario where DeMarcus Ware does not receive his Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket this Summer. He had a chance to be a first-ballot guy last year but fell a bit short, making the final ten but not reaching the final five to make the final stage of the yes-no 80% vote. We've predicted he is a virtual lock to make it this year. We'll see.

Jared Allen has been on the Final 15 three times but has stagnated, never making the final 10. That may or may not change this year—last month, in our annual prediction post, we guessed he'd make the top 10 this go around. Again, we'll see.

Aside from Ware, who will take up all the edge rusher oxygen in the room, there is first-time eligible edge rusher  Dwight Freeney who will certainly have support among the voters which will compete with Allen. In fact, Hall of Fame voter Bill Polian drafted him and another Hall of Fame voter Tony Dungy coached him. That will help him.

But, Allen will have his chance. Probably not this year, but perhaps next year if he does advance to the top 10.

He's certainly qualified.

However, looking back it is a minor miracle his career made it past his first few seasons. During that time he had a serious problem with alcohol abuse that led to a pair of DUI arrests and a suspension for violation of the NFL's substance abuse/alcohol policy. 

His career path was not unlike that of current Raider edge rusher Maxx Crosby except Crosby's DUI suspension was at the collegiate level and only occurred one time. Like Crosby, Allen persevered and turned things around, but again, unlike Crosby, it was not in college. 

Allen was off to a terrific start as a defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was an All-Rookie pick in 2004 and led the team in sacks and came back for an even better second season forcing six fumbles and recording eleven sacks and 54 hurries.

In 2006 he was named to the USA Today All-Joe team, a team that recognized players who were outstanding but not named to any Pro Bowl or All-Pro teams. Allen had 7.5 sacks, forced five fumbles and had 10.5 run stuffs that year and another stuff on a pass play.

His breakout year was 2007. It was the season he was suspended and missed the first two games but still led the NFL in sacks with 15.5 and was First-team All-Pro. 

After that season Allen and the Chiefs were unable to agree on a contract so he was given the franchise tag and was traded to the Vikings (first a first-round and two third-round picks and change) and for a while was the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, signing a six-year, $73 million deal in 2008.

In Minnesota, Allen did not disappoint. In six seasons, he was All-Pro three times (twice consensus) and went to four Pro Bowls. He was voted the NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2009 and was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 by the Kansas City Committee of 101 and Sporting News.

He was an ideal fit as an edge rusher to pair with the Williams Wall - interior linemen Kevin and Pat Williams that were tremendous run pluggers. They took care of the middle and Allen got after quarterbacks and the Vikings were playoff contenders for the first few years Allen was with the team.

Allen averaged 14.3 sacks a season in Skol country, leading the NFL with 22.0 in 2011, his second-league title in five years most followed by his iconic calf roping celebration. All of which led to his inclusion into the Vikings Ring of Fame along with other great Vikings defensive linemen Alan Page, Carl Eller, John Randle, Chis Doleman, Jim Marshall, and Kevin Williams.

After his deal expired with Minnesota his career wound down with the Bears and a stint with the Panthers, ending his twelve-year career during which he was the quintessential blind side rusher that was arguably the best in the NFL and if not the best, clearly in the top two.

He played from 2004-15 and during that span no one in the NFL had more sacks or QB hits and that includes DeMarcus Ware. During his peak years from 2005-13 (which eliminates his rookie year and his wind-down years) he also had the most sacks and QB hits.

No matter how the numbers are sliced Allen comes out on top in his personal era.

Along the way, Allen recovered 19 fumbles and picked off six passes, and had six defensive scores including four safeties to go with his 136.0 sacks which rank as the 12th-most in NFL history (since 1982 when sacks became an official statistic), 32 forced fumbles, and 58 deflected passes.

When scouting reports are added it further enhances the 6-6, 270-pounders case. One scout's report stated, "First five years a top initial all-around start for 40E. Blue rusher, blue pursuit & neutralize run blocks. Remained blue rusher through 2014."

So for Allen, it is a matter of timing for his call to the Hall. There is some competition with Ware and Freeney and also with Julius Peppers becoming eligible next year but with his resume, he will eventually get the recognition he deserves for his Hall of Fame-worthy career.

Career stats—

Career honors—


  1. From Brian wolf ...

    Thats why I feel Allen and Ware will go in together. With Freeney, Peppers and Suggs coming up not to mention Mathis, the pass rushers are filling up a room fast. They are more impactful to me than the wide receivers, winning championships as well and they have to clear somewhat before more LBs and Corners get their due.
    A lot of great skill position players on offense are coming up and they might as well keep a heavy defensive class this year ...

    1. It's possible. And I agree that the WRs will likely cancel each other out. But if one does go in, guessing it would be Johnson. I have him 6-10 with Lewis, Hester, Willis, and Allen

      Obviosuly could be wrong but I am sticking to my Dec 19 predictions which was this order--but already missed on Ellard, but just replace him with Woodson (who I had 16th) The first 5 will go in, the next 5 are the 6-10 and the final five will go out in first cut...
      Joe Thomas
      Darrelle Revis.
      DeMarcus Ware
      Zach Thomas.
      Ronde Barber
      Andre Johnson
      Albert Lewis
      Devin Hester
      Patrick Willis
      Jared Allen
      Willie Anderson
      Dwight Freeney
      Torry Holt
      Reggie Wayne
      Henry Ellard

  2. From Brian wolf ...

    Haha ... like I crazily predicted on ... If the former Chief, Allen gets elected ... a Chiefs SB victory ...

  3. Your guess is as good as any. I think Jared will make Final 10, but that is it for this year.