Defensive end Jared Allen signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Chicago Bears, who were not known to be in the bidding for one of the NFL's most productive pass rushers.
Allen, 31, is the third free-agent defensive end to sign in Chicago this offseason. He joins Lamarr Houston, who could play defensive tackle, and Willie Young on the overhauled Bears defense.
The contract structure sets up as a likely two-year contract but with $15.5 million guaranteed, Allen certainly has enough incentive to keep chasing quarterbacks. His 2014 and 2015 salaries are fully guaranteed.
Allen's agent broke off talks with the Minnesota Vikings three days before the start of unrestricted free agency, when Minnesota committed $42.5 million to sign Everson Griffen to a five-year deal. Allen considered retirement but took visits to Dallas and Seattle and had interest from other teams, including the Denver Broncos.
"I'd like to take a moment to thank my former teammates, coaches and the staff at the Minnesota Vikings for all of their inspiring work and dedication," Allen said. "Perhaps more importantly I would like to thank the fans and the Minnesota community. I can only hope that I have left with you all with even a fraction of the positive support and impact you have had on my life, my foundation and my family.
"I am very excited about this next chapter in my career with the Chicago Bears and can't wait to see what the future holds for us. God bless."
Signing Allen adds to the musical chairs among pass rushers in the NFC North. Julius Peppers, released by the Bears earlier this month, joined the Green Bay Packers.
"Certainly, organizationally and collectively, we're excited about bringing in a guy who has shown durability, dependability, a great motor and has played at a high level for such a long time," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "And the fact that Jared is excited about being a Bear -- and I'm sure he'll speak more to that -- and wanting to hopefully finish his career in Chicago is exciting to all of us. He's going to bring certainly great value both on the field and in the locker room."
Allen recorded his seventh consecutive double-digit sack season and eighth overall of his 10-year career. He started all 16 games for the sixth consecutive season, compiling 11.5 sacks, 13 TFLs, 52 tackles (33 solo), six pass deflections and two forced fumbles for Minnesota.
Allen leads the NFL in sacks with 128.5 since entering the league as a fourth-round draft pick (126th overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004. In 157 career games, Allen has started 151, totaling 558 tackles (445 solo), five interceptions -- including one returned for a touchdown -- 51 batted passes, 29 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries and is tied for a NFL record four safeties. In 2009, he joined Reggie White as the only NFL players to notch at least 14.5 sacks in three straight seasons (2007-09).
Allen broke the Vikings single-season sack record with 22 in 2011 and came within one-half sack of matching the NFL single-season record. It was the second time Allen has led the league in sacks, a feat he first accomplished in 2007 with 15.5.