Two years later: The Jared Allen trade

My AFC West colleague, Bill Williamson, took a detailed look at the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Jared Allen trade, and I have a few Minnesota-centric thoughts to add.

First, let’s review the terms of the April 2008 deal. The Vikings got:

  • Defensive end Jared Allen

  • Kansas City’s sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft. (It became starting center John Sullivan.)

The Chiefs got:

It would be tough to argue that Minnesota didn’t win this trade, and Bill never made that claim. He does point out that Allen wouldn’t be an ideal fit for the Chiefs’ new 3-4 scheme, and notes that Charles seems set to be their tailback of the near future.

But while the Chiefs did get good value, they traded away a then-26-year-old player who will go down as one of the best defensive players in his era. No NFL player has more than Allen’s 72 sacks over the past six years, the type of figure that voters will one day consider when measuring Allen’s candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After quarterbacks, outside pass-rushers are the second-most valuable commodity in the NFL. They can change a game in an instant, and there are only a handful who consistently can put up 10-sack seasons, let alone Allen’s production.

And it’s not as if Allen has dropped off since the trade. He has 29 sacks in his first 32 games with the Vikings. Only Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware (31) has more sacks over that span. Allen, in fact, is one of only two players in NFL history to have three consecutive seasons with more than 14 sacks. Reggie White was the other.

The Chiefs will be hard-pressed to match that value even with the bounty they extracted from the Vikings. I’m not even considering that Minnesota also got its starting center in the trade; the Vikings liked Sullivan entering the draft and probably would have drafted him without the trade.

We’re only two years in, but I don’t think Allen could have given the Vikings anything more than what they’ve gotten. They were seeking one of the rarest NFL commodities, regardless of cost, and that’s exactly what Allen has been.