The NFL could very well be seeing a lot of this for a very long time to come. (Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)
With so much focus this season having been spent on Jared Allen's pursuit of Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22.5*. . .because, seriously, what the hell else did we have to cheer for. . .it led me to wonder exactly what kind of shot he had at breaking the all-time record for sacks in a career given the success that he's had early on in his career. After all, as we mentioned back when he reached the 100-sack plateau, the only player in NFL history to reach that number faster was Reggie White.
Some of the recent scuttlebutt has also suggested that the Minnesota Vikings trade Jared Allen because he is "getting older," since he turns all of. . .gasp. . .30 years old this April. OMG THIRTY IS SO OLD AND oh, shut up, no it's not. (Says the guy that's five years older than Allen is.)
However, with Allen's work ethic (which was on full display this year) being what it is, there's a very good chance that a few years from now. . .whether he's with Minnesota or not. . .we could be talking about him pursuing not single-season sack records, but Bruce Smith's all-time mark of 200. Just for kicks, I decided to compare Allen's first eight seasons in the NFL with some of the other great defensive ends in the history of the NFL based on where they rank on the all-time sacks list, and see what sort of pace #69 is on compared to some of them. It's pretty favorable for Allen right now, barring injury.
After the jump, we'll see what we have. The "age" is based on the stats from Pro Football Reference and what age a player was at the start of that particular season.
105 career sacks
200 career sacks
198 career sacks
150.5 career sacks
141.5* career sacks
White spent the first two years of his career playing for the Memphis Showboats of the old United States Football League. During that time, he racked up 23.5 sacks. If those were part of his NFL total, the record might be untouchable.
As you can see, it's not completely unheard of for pass rushers to be productive after. . .and, sometimes, long after. . .the age of 30. Bruce Smith was sort of hanging on towards the end in his pursuit of the all-time sack record and the 200 sack plateau, but White, Doleman, and Strahan were all fairly productive late into their careers.
This is why I, personally, think that the Vikings have no business trading Jared Allen at this point. The scheme this team is running isn't the problem. . .it's the complete lack of talent in the back end of this defense, in my opinion. Allen is showing himself to be a truly transcendent player and, even at the "ripe old age" of 30, is still somebody that a defense can be built around for both the short term and the long term.
NFL teams don't win by throwing away their proven talent for a chance to draft guys that may or may not work out. The Vikings haven't got a lot of "proven talent" on this team, but Jared Allen certainly is.