Jared Allen to Leave Minneapolis; Talks Will Continue

Jared Allen will be leaving the Twin Cities, per NFL rules which say that a player can't spend more than 48 hours visiting a team.

OH MY GOD EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!

Or not.

Allen has a trip to Tampa Bay scheduled for early next week, and the Bucs and Vikings have been the only teams mentioned thus far that are in the running for Allen's services.  Frankly, I don't think the Bucs can offer nearly as good a deal to Allen as the Vikings can, nor can they offer the Chiefs the same level of compensation.  I'm not sure on the former, because I'm not sure how much cap room the Bucs currently have.

However, I am sure about the level of compensation that the Bucs can offer the Chiefs compared to what the Vikings can offer them.  Why?  Here are the picks that each team has in the upcoming draft:

Round Minnesota Tampa Bay
1 #17 #20
2 #47 #52
3 #73 (from DEN), #82 #83
4 #117 #120
5 #150 #153
6 #182, #193 (from JAC) No Picks
7 #209 No Picks

So, as you can see, not only do the Vikings have more picks to draw from than the Buccaneers do, but all of their picks in every round are higher than what Tampa Bay has to offer.  Since the Chiefs seem to be insisting on picks in this year's draft, if the rumors are to be believed, this is a big selling point.

From reading various Chiefs sites around the internet, including our own Arrowhead Pride, it seems that Chiefs' general manager Carl Peterson is more popular than syphilis, but only marginally so.  If he were to somehow let Jared Allen go without getting a return in the 2008 Draft for him, then the public relations backlash could get a little messy for someone who, from all indications, really can't afford to deal with something like that.

But that, fortunately for the Vikings, is a card that they hold.  Lest you think that the Chiefs hold all the cards in this poker game, let me once again refer you to the folks at Pro Football Talk:

Earlier on Saturday, we floated the possibility of the Minnesota Vikings signing Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen to an offer sheet after the 2008 draft.  If the Chiefs choose not to match the offer, they would be stuck with the Vikings' first-round draft picks in 2009 and 2010.

Several readers asked whether such a move would be permissible, citing the Friday, April 18 deadline for signing players to offer sheets.  Though vague, the CBA seemed to indicate that the pre-draft deadline applies only to restricted free agents, and not to franchise players.  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed for us that there is no pre-draft deadline for signing franchise players to offer sheets.

Thus, if the Vikings believe that the team is going to be a solid contender over the next few years in a so-so NFC North (especially after Brett Favre's retirement), why not make the run at Allen after the draft?  The first-round picks in 2009 and 2010 will be low.

They'll be even lower if the players whom the Vikes land in a 2008 draft that is deep but not top-heavy become solid contributors.

In our view, it's a no-brainer.  The Vikings should sign Allen to an offer sheet with a poison pill the moment after exercising the 17th overall selection in round one.

Basically, if Carl Peterson wants to play hardball with this, it's going to come back to bite him.  Even if he does get Minnesota's first-round selections in '09 and '10. . .if he screws up a deal for the team's best defensive player, he might not be around long enough to exercise those picks for the Chiefs.

Peterson has to know that not all of the onus to get this done falls on the Minnesota Vikings.  If the Vikings feel like it, they can select someone with the 17th pick in this year's draft at 7:00 PM on Saturday and sign Allen to a loaded offer sheet at 7:01.  He knows this. . .at least, I think he knows this.  And if the Vikings put a specific clause in the contract like. . .oh, I don't know. . ."player, if physically healthy, must play at least eight games a year in domed stadiums". . .then Peterson will just have to stand there and take it.  But he won't just be taking it from the Vikings. . .he'll be taking it from the Kansas City faithful, too.

(And if you think the "games played in domed stadiums" thing is outrageous, I find it to be no more so than Nate Burleson's "no more than five games a year in the state of Minnesota" clause from the battle with Seattle a couple years back.)

So please, nobody freak out over Jared Allen leaving the Twin Cities before a contract is done.  He's leaving because league rules mandate that he has to.  I have a feeling that he'll still be wearing the purple and gold before too much longer.  It might not be pretty, but I have a feeling that it will get done.

And with that, it's time to call it a night.  Have a good Sat. . .er, Sunday, ladies and gentlemen, and we'll be back bright and early tomorrow with any new developments, should any arise.

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