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Updated: October 28th, 2013 11:47am
Trading Jared Allen would be more complicated than it looks on surface

Trading Jared Allen would be more complicated than it looks on surface

by Phil Mackey
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With the NFL's trade deadline looming Tuesday, and with the Minnesota Vikings dropping to 1-6 following another embarrassing blowout loss, it's easy to say the Purple should look to get anything they can for an impending free agent like Jared Allen.

But trading Allen would be complicated for several reasons.

First off, cap space is an issue for any team looking to acquire Allen, who is owed about $7.5 million the rest of the season. The National Football Post reported Monday that, among teams in contention, the Packers, Eagles and Bengals could swing a trade for Allen without moving money around. The Patriots and Broncos could pull off a trade with a bit of cap maneuvering.

We know the Packers probably won't give up draft picks to acquire a veteran. It's not Ted Thompson's style. And we know the Eagles probably aren't actual playoff contenders, despite being only one game back in the NFC East. Chip Kelly is building and likely not looking to move a draft pick. That leaves the Bengals, Broncos and Pats. 

The other important factor to consider in any potential Jared Allen trade talks involves compensatory picks. The NFL awards comp draft picks each season to teams that lose more or better free agents than they sign - but those picks would be awarded for the 2015 draft for free agents lost after the 2013 season. The Vikings must weigh the trade market value of Allen (can they get a decent pick for the 2014 draft?) against the value of any compensatory pick(s) they could receive prior to the 2015 draft.

For example, the NFL awarded 32 compensatory picks to 16 teams prior to last year's (2013) draft for free agents lost/signed after the 2011 season. Two teams received four extra picks (Falcons, Ravens) and two teams received three extra picks (49ers, Titans). The highest-round compensatory pick awarded last year was a third-round pick (to the Texans, Chiefs and Titans).

The compensatory formula is based on the number of free agents lost vs. signed, and the quality and salaries of those free agents. The Titans received three picks in 2013, including a third-rounder, because they lost Cortland Finnegan, William Hayes and Jason Jones after the 2011 season while signing nobody.

If the Vikings feel as if they'll be aggressive in free agency - thus counter-acting the loss of Allen in free agency and likely not receiving any comp picks - they'd probably get more value in a pre-deadline trade tomorrow. But if no team is offering more than a sixth or seventh-round pick, it might be wise to just keep Allen until he hits free agency.

Allen currently leads the Vikings with five sacks and eight quarterback hits. 

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Jared Allen