And we're shutting all the offenses down.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, after much weeping, gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands, and potential cursing of all things Missouri, the Minnesota Vikings have officially added the best defensive end this team has seen since Chris Doleman was traded to Atlanta. Jared Allen is now a member of the Minnesota Vikings.
As I documented earlier, the trade will send Minnesota's first round pick (#17 overall) and both of their third round selections (#73 and #82) to the Chiefs for Allen. The teams will also swap picks in the sixth round, although it's unclear which of the Vikings two sixth round selections will be part of the exchange. . .their own, which is at #182 overall, or the one they received from Jacksonville from Troy Williamson, which is #193 overall. Kansas City's sixth round selection is #170.
At the surface, it seems to be a lot to give to trade up for anyone, even somebody of Allen's caliber. However, by making this trade, we get a well-proven commodity rather than hoping that somebody works out in our spot in the draft. As I mentioned yesterday, the whole "drafting DEs in the middle of the first round" thing hasn't worked out terribly well for Minnesota over the course of the last 15 years or so.
However, it also stands to reason that if the Vikings were going to select a defensive end in the first round of the 2008 Draft. . .Derrick Harvey out of Florida, to be more specific. . .they were going to have to trade up to acquire him anyway, because it looks less and less likely that he'll last until anywhere near the 17th overall pick. If we look at the new trade chart from Pro Football Talk, let's say that a team like Denver would be dead set on taking Harvey at #12 (as they did in the SBNation Mock Draft). This means we'd have to trade up to the #11 spot, currently held by Buffalo. According to the aforementioned chart, the #11 pick is worth 1,320 points. The three picks that the Vikings gave Kansas City for this add up to approximately 1,475 points. So while the trade is slightly in the Chiefs' favor, it's not egregiously so. Heck, trading up to #11 might not have been high enough, either, depending on who you listen to.
Yes, I realize that Kansas City could potentially draft three superstars with those three picks. It's equally likely that they could draft three complete flops. In this case, as I said, we got a 26-year old proven pass-rushing stud that led the NFL in sacks last season (again, on a defensive line that didn't have a hell of a lot else to offer AND despite missing two games) that should be spending the prime seasons of his career wearing purple and gold. Plus, we didn't give up any picks in 2009, so if we see weaknesses that need to be filled going into the 2009 season, we'll have the full complement of picks to address them with.
Then there's the matter of the payola that Allen is going to be receiving. Yes, his contract gives him $31 million guaranteed. (Actually, it's $31,000,069. . .who said Zygi doesn't have a sense of humor?) Yes, this makes him the highest-paid defensive player in the history of the league. And yes, it's a hell of a lot of money. But consider this. . .
Yesterday, the Miami Dolphins made Jake Long the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and signed him to a contract that will give him $30 million over the next five years, guaranteed. That's $1 million less than Allen. As of this minute, Jake Long has played exactly the same number of NFL games that you and I have. If that's worth $30 million, then one of the best young defensive ends in football is certainly worth $31 million, isn't he?
(And if that's not proof that the whole rookie salary structure needs to be re-done, I don't know what is. . .but that's a different debate for another time.)
So while this coming Saturday won't be as exciting as Draft day usually is for fans of the Beloved Purple. But we're now looking at a team that's addressed all of the pressing needs that they had coming into the off-season. We needed a pass rusher, and we got one of the best there is. We needed a receiver, and we got the best one available. We needed a safety, and we got (arguably) the best one out available. And we didn't fill those needs with guys that are on the wrong side of the hill, either. . .all of the guys we got to fill those spots are in their mid-20s and getting ready to enter the prime of their careers. So the Draft might not be terribly exciting for us. . .but the 2008 season sure as hell will be.