Free agent pass rusher Jared Allen has signed with the Bears for a face-value of four years, $32M, or $8M APY. $15.5M is guaranteed. This is reportedly higher than Seattle's final offer, which is something we assumed would happen based on John Schneider's comments from the NFL Owners' meetings on Tuesday.
Schneider told NFL AM that his club is "limited in what we can do in terms of our cap space and what we want to do with our young football team, and [Allen] has a limit, too, in terms of what he can do. There just has to be a balance."
Getting to that balance had been the issue in ongoing negotiations and Allen's decision to wait it out and drive up the price seemingly worked, as Chicago renegotiated Jay Cutler's contract to free up some cap space for this year.
Schneider added, "He's a prideful man, he's accomplished a lot in this league, so anything that we were able to offer was not out of disrespect or anything. It was just trying to fit the pieces together." This comment tells me that Seattle's offer was somewhat of a lowball pitch. ESPN's Terry Blount reports the Seahawks were willing to offer between $12M and $13M over two years with $8M guaranteed, or in other words, a few million less per year and about half of the total guaranteed money the Bears gave him. That's a huge gap.
Schneider's comments on fiscal discipline, as you'd expect, were exactly in line with what Pete Carroll said on Monday regarding the ongoing negotiations, i.e., that Seattle only has so much money to spend, not only this year, but looking forward a few years. "We're very restricted in what we can do, you know? We have a lot of work to get done here on our roster and a lot of guys we've got to work with and we're excited about extending and stuff like this."
Ultimately, Allen decided that the Bears offer was more attractive -- it was probably longer with more guaranteed money -- and frankly the Bears are a talented contender. The Bears also added Lamarr Houston and Willie Young in free agency will look to regain elite status on defense.
The move has strong implications for the future of the Seahawks' roster. First and foremost, not signing Allen means the Seahawks' salary cap situation remains quite comfortable. If the Hawks had decided to invest in Allen -- and it would have probably been solid investment -- things would have likely been much tighter in terms of trying to retain some of the core nucleus in Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Byron Maxwell, K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner, and a few others. Let's not forget the Hawks may try to sign Cliff Avril to a longer-term contract as well.
Also, as our own Thomas Beekers pointed out in an excellent piece breaking down the compensatory draft pick selection process, the Seahawks may benefit next year in the Draft by not signing Allen because his large contract would not cancel out the contract that Golden Tate signed in Detroit.
Seattle is likely to pick up four comp picks in next year's draft, and an educated guess at the picks Seattle may receive, based on the formula that was used this year may be:
Golden Tate ($6.1M APY) ~ 4th round pick.
Brandon Browner ($5.7M APY) ~ 4th or 5th round pick.
Breno Giacomini ($4.5M APY) ~ 5th round pick.
Walter Thurmond ($3M APY) ~ 6th round pick.
So, again, it's an educated guess, but with Jared Allen's $6M+ APY contract heading to Chicago and not Seattle, Tate's deal would not be cancelled out and the Seahawks could conceivably receive an extra fourth round pick among the likely maximum of four compensatory picks. The estimate would be that Seattle would receive two fourths, a fifth, and a sixth -- depending on any other moves that the team makes in free agency.
Bottom line, it's a bummer that Allen will not be a Seahawk. I was excited at the possibility and frankly the pass rush does become a bit of a concern to me now. That said, Seattle fans can rest assured that the future is stacking up nicely for a longer-term run at being a contender: the cap is healthy and the franchise should pick up a few extra compensatory picks in the 2015 Draft that can be re-invested into the team.