Total makeover: Jared Allen signing gives Bears draft flexibility

Total makeover: Jared Allen signing gives Bears draft flexibility
March 26, 2014, 9:15 am
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While the draft is still seven weeks off, the signings on the defensive line and safety, plus moving Shea McClellin to linebacker where Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene were drafted last year, all give the Bears increased flexibility in draft that Phil Emery is on record as declaring that the draft would be heavy on defense. Cornerback remains the early favorite, with veteran Charles Tillman, 33, signed for just one more season.

At safety, the Bears already signed Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings and Danny McCray, plus re-signing veteran Craig Steltz, with Chris Conte in the final year of his rookie contract.

[MORE: Bears sign DE Jared Allen to four-year, $32 million pact]

The Bears have routinely used a rotation on their defensive line extending back through the entire Lovie Smith era and on into the 2013 season under Mel Tucker and Marc Trestman. Jared Allen has started 16 games in eight of his 10 NFL seasons, missing two games in 2007 and one as a rookie in 2004, both years with the Kansas City Chiefs.

He has 128.5 career sacks and showed few indications of truly slowing down last season for a foundering Minnesota team. Indeed, the Bears gave up perhaps a more physical defensive end in Julius Peppers but upgraded their pass rush with Allen, in addition to signing Lamarr Houston from Oakland, a 280-pound end who also has played as high as 300 pounds and provides a physical presence at either end.

The organization did re-sign Kelvin Hayden after a lost 2013 season to a hamstring injury suffered during training camp. They also do have Isaiah Frey returning after proving a serviceable fill-in for Hayden.