Jared Allen Ready For His “Clean Shot”March 5th, 2014
Lovie Smith is on record saying he wants a double-digit sack guy on his edge and the Bucs don’t have one. (Sorry, 2011 draft picks.) That means Tampa Bay has to buy one, or gamble that they’ll find one in the draft that can produce immediately.
There are zero indications Lovie is willing to make that May gamble.
So that leaves the Bucs with what has become an annual tradition: Team Glazer’s private jet ready to pick up a potential free agent, fly him to Tampa when the free agency bell rings Tuesday, and sign the man immediately.
Likely future Hall of Fame defensive end Jared Allen is going to be available. Yes, while new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer glowed about Allen and talked about wanting him to stay in Minnesota on Monday, now Allen’s agent is telling NFL.com Allen is heading to the open market for a clean shot at free-agent glory.
Allen is not washed up, but he might not have multiple years of greatness in his tank. He seems like a perfect Bucs fit to pair with other young edge rushers the Bucs might add via free agency and the draft.
Second-year man William Gholston spoke very confidently to Buccaneers.com a few days ago about how much he grew late last season when he became a starter and how he’s entering this season brimming with understanding versus his rookie year. That’s no surprise, given how good players make big strides between in the second seasons of their careers. Gholston is just another guy who could benefit from Allen’s presence.
The connections are there for Allen, with his old defensive coordinator, friend and head coach Leslie Frazier in Tampa, plus the Bucs’ strong tradition of supporting the military, a big focus of Allen’s charitable efforts. But the biggest hook of all has to be Gerald McCoy. Playing alongside McCoy should let Allen record enough sacks to guarantee his eventual spot in the Hall of Fame.
Don’t think that’s not a factor. Joe remembers hearing John Abraham discuss how important that was to him last season, when then-35-year-old Abraham was sniffing the best opportunity for himself in free agency. That turned out to be Arizona, where Abraham notched 11.5 sacks.
The free agency dinner bell rings in six short days.