First let me speculate about the possible negotiations (which it is clear that there were some talks). A lot of Vikings fans wanted to get at least a 3rd round pick. Some delusional ones had thoughts (albeit brief) of a 2nd round pick. Obviously, anyone expecting a 1st round pick was certifiable. So what could the offers have been?
Allen had 7.6 mil still due for the remainder of this year. Other teams were probably not willing to pay that AND give up a good draft pick. What if the Vikings would have offered to pay half of that 7.6 mil before the trade? Perhaps that was not even enough for other teams to offer a 3rd round pick? Did the negotiations reach a 4th round pick plus the Vikings pay half of that salary? Who knows?
Were the negotiations just for a 4th only? Would that have been good enough coming from Denver? I would have to say yes. Remember we got the great Greg Childs and Rhett Ellison at the end of the 4th round. We got the fantastic Robert Blanton in the top of the 5th round. And who could forget the stinkin' punter? Not me. Not ever.
Did the negotiations reach the level the Isaac Sopoaga? The Eagles traded him AND a 6th round pick to the Patriots for a 5th round pick. Did a team offer their 4th for Allen and our 5th? Even I would have said no to that trade.
We will never know the details of the negotiations. What we do know is Spielman could not strike a deal. Is that a failure? Not necessarily. If the deals were no good then why should he give Allen to another team. Of course they said we can wait until the end of the season and then try to sign him as a free agent which is true. Spielman could have said to go ahead then. But you are not getting him for the rest of this year for peanuts.
So now that he is not traded you really have to look at the big picture and wonder what the heck are they doing? Why pay Allen all of his 2013 salary and absorb that 17.1 mil cap hit when you know you are not going to resign him? How does that help the Vikings in the future? If you say that they may resign him then that could be but why not get it done prior to this season in order to lower that cap hit?
IMO this is very poor management of cap space and of talent. Jared Allen is a significant talent in the NFL.. His value was very high following the 2011 season when he had 22 sacks. You have to believe he had a little more trade value than he does right now. At the beginning of this past offseason his value was not as high but still had to be higher than it is now even with that contract. If they had put him on the market like they are doing now they may have garnered a very good pick in this past draft. I would even say that if they agreed to pay part of his salary that would have even made it easier.
If they could have traded Allen and freed up all of that cap space which would have been 14.28 mil since the remaining was a prorated signing bonus and would have been a cap hit then they could have been more active in free agency. I really wanted them to try and sign Louis Vasquez OG 6'5" 325. He was coming off his first contract with the Chargers and was only 26 years old. This is specifically the type of player Spielman said he wanted to target in free agency. He may not have even came here but I never heard of them even talking to him or inviting him for a visit. He has graded out very well this year so far too.
He could have tried to sign Glover Quin S who signed with the Lions. He has been playing well for the Lions and is a solid starter. He would have been a better signing than Sanford although I like Sanford.
He could have tried to sign Sean Smith CB in free agency. I really wanted him to go after a corner specifically because of Cook's propensity to get hurt. Cook is good when he is on the field but for some reason, he always gets banged up. You cannot rely on that if you want to win.
Having said all this, I do not have any clue as to whether or not the players even would have come to Minnesota. But I like to believe they would have if the offer was good enough.
I could go on but the point is that the Vikings made a conscious decision (hopefully) to go ahead and absorb all of Jared Allen's salary for this season and not be as active as they could have been in free agency. They could have keep Antonie Winfield for this year if they somehow managed to do something about Allen's massive cap hit (not his fault at all). Winfield deserved to be paid whatever and then retire a Viking. If you are going to pay Letroy Guion close to 4 mil per year then you can sure as heck pay Winfield a little more than he deserves (I think he deserved all of his contract). That has now backfired badly.
I know some of you will say that they now have all this money for free agency next year which is true. But free agency is not going to be as robust next year. This past off season was the second year following the new CBA. A lot of players had signed one year deals in order to reach free agency prior to this season. There still are some left but the market is not going to be as good. Hopefully there will be some surprises.
I do not like it at all. I think that you cannot back on the window always being open or that you will get to sign some free agents the next year or get some compensatory pick. I want them to try and improve as much as possible each and every year. If they are not even trying then that is a problem.
I do not think absorbing Allen's massive cap hit this year was very smart at all. I think by not trading him earlier once you know you are not going to extend him is also not smart. I am a fan of trading a player a year early rather than a year late.
Now the Vikings could resign Allen after all and all of this would have just been whining. But I still would feel like why didn't they do that earlier in order to free up more cap space this year. It just makes no sense. Maybe Allen wanted too much and they are hoping that by paying him all of his money this year that he will give them some kind of discount on an extension after this season. Good luck with that.
I am very disappointed in the Vikings front office. This is just another feather in their cap to go right next to the QB situation feather. But it is all salvageable. When one door closes another door opens. Whatever that means.