The architect of the free-ageny coup that brought Julius Peppers to the Chicago Bears, at age 30, in 2010, gave an unqualified endorsement of the deal made by his successor, Phil Emery, in bringing pass rusher Jared Allen in to fill the position vacated by the release this month of Peppers.
Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo, the weekly NFL Insider for “The Kap & Haugh Show” on “The Game” 87.7 FM, said Wednesday that Allen’s deal averaging $8 million over four years was an indicator as well as a major move in itself.
“All the pass rushers got signed to good deals. He was the last one…. Obviously he has a lot of good football left and he’ll be a good fit.
“With [Lamarr] Houston, [Willie] Young from Detroit, and Allen, that gives them three pretty good new players. He should fit well in the rotation.”
The deals for pass rushers were indeed high, with the likes of Michael Johnson getting $7 million per season to go from Cincinnati to Tampa Bay after a three-sack season.
The Bears ended up paying more for Allen but less than the massive early dollar demands Allen went with to Denver and Seattle. The strategy for Emery was to wait until the first massive wave swept through the market and then strike.
During his introductory remarks after the signing of Lamarr Houston from Oakland, Emery laid out the strategy, specifically in response to a question regarding Allen”
“Jared has been a great pass rusher in the league,” Emery said. “What will happen is some of those players will find teams right away. They’ll be a quick opportunity, but then there will be a settling out period where they’re going to look for the right fit. Well, he would certainly have a good fit here and a great opportunity, so we’ll see how that comes together.”
How the market unfolded was with the expected surge to grab pass rushers, putting a premium if teams wanted to strike very early.
“It’s a real good gauge to see how teams value positions,” Angelo said. “The No. 1 position this year in free agency was pass rusher. And they all got paid. Then the corners, if they had any kind of size, they got paid. Then the offensive left tackles. What was a little different was that all the athletic safeties got paid.
“So Allen fits in the value for the position. That’s why I think Chicago did what they had to do, because they had to bulk up that pass rush. If you can’t do that, then you can’t play defense.”