One of 2014 free agents, Jared Allen says no worries about his deal
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen will start his 85th-consecutive game in purple on Sunday in a career that has already produced 120.5 sacks.
In his sixth and final contract season with the Vikings, Allen said he's not focused on his situation after watching fellow 30-year old defensive end Brian Robison sign a four-year extension on Wednesday.
"Honestly, I'm not even worried about that," Allen said. "I'm in a situation where I've been blessed and taken care of."
In May, Allen said the two sides hadn't talked a lick about extending him. Now in October, Allen said talks on an extension are currently silent between his side and the Vikings. The highest-paid member of the 2013 team, Allen's $17 million cap at the height of his 2008 contract likely won't get offered at the same premium like when he signed the six-year, $73 million deal as a trade from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Since then, Allen has racked up 77.5 sacks and 23 pass deflections without missing a start in six seasons.
Allen, 31, has 3.5 sacks so far this year as he is returning from offseason surgeries to his knee and shoulder. He struggled against the likes of Chicago Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod and Cleveland Browns' Joe Thomas, but he got his 2.5 sacks against the Pittsburgh Steelers all on one drive in the win.
"I think Jared would tell you, the sacks come in waves," Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. "Luckily it came at a great time. Sometimes you're doing the exact same things, but the quarterback may step your way, or the tackle or end you're working with may rush him to you. They'll come, they'll come. Just like the turnovers, we can't be impatient."
Allen watched Robison get the first deal done out of a group of four other defensive linemen who are also playing for their immediate futures. Defensive tackles Fred Evans and Kevin Williams along with defensive ends Everson Griffen and Allen are not on contract after 2013.
Behind the 33-year old Williams, Allen is the oldest of the group and carries the highest price tag. The follow up to his 22-sack season in 2011 was hampered by a torn labrum in his shoulder that he played through, including other injuries last season. Allen said the shoulder injury was the "worst he's every played with, and he still finished with 12 sacks. But as his career winds down, the Vikings likely won't want to invest as heavily in him as he'd like.
Another veteran in Williams restructured his deal this offseason, taking a $2.5 million paycut that also shaved one year off his contract, in order to remain with the team. In hindsight, the Vikings caught a break when Williams was willing to renegotiate, as backup three-technique Christian Ballard walked away from the team unexpectedly in August.
Allen could potentially follow suit and take one for the team, but he's more likely to test the open market before taking a reduced deal in Minnesota.