KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As improbable as it might have sounded at the end of last season when he led the NFL in sacks, the Kansas City Chiefs could be willing to part with All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen while he's in the prime of his career.
If the price is right for the 26-year-old Allen, the Chiefs could extract precious extra selections to use next week in what shapes up as one of the most crucial drafts in recent team history. Extra picks could greatly speed up coach Herman Edwards' rebuilding project for a team that lost its last nine games in 2007 and finished 4-12.
The Chiefs need offensive linemen and defensive backs, two position groups that scouts believe to be in abundance. The Chiefs have the No. 5 overall pick in the draft, and 10 selections altogether. If they could package a deal for a second choice in the first round and an extra second- or third-round pick, that might look very attractive.
"We're talking in speculation right now," Peterson said. "At this particular point, nothing has been done or consummated."
Peterson's relationship with Allen has been strained ever since Peterson, in the wake of Allen's DUI convictions, described him as "a young man at risk." Allen, who could be suspended for a season if he has another alcohol-related episode, has said he would not negotiate with Kansas City if he doesn't get a contract done by next July.
After reaching an impasse, the Chiefs made Allen their franchise player on Feb. 7, but did not put the exclusive tag on him, as they did on tight end Tony Gonzalez when he was franchised in 2002.
That made it possible for Allen and his agent to talk with other clubs and be examined by their team doctors.
Kansas City would still be able to keep him by matching whatever offer he gets. If they decide not to match, they would get two first-round picks from the club that signs Allen, something no other club seems likely to go for. But another team could negotiate a deal with the Chiefs for compensation.
"Any team can bring him in, talk to him, measure him, physical him, write a contract. That's the option they have as a non-exclusive franchise player," Peterson said.
"If we wanted to prohibit Jared and his agent from having the opportunity to look to teams, we would have put the exclusive franchise tag on him. We didn't do that. In years past we have used the exclusive. So we'll see what happens. But to this point nothing has happened. If something does happen, we'll let you know. If it doesn't happen, we'll let you know."
Peterson declined to say what sort of offer might tempt him.
"I don't know at this point. I haven't seen any contract offer," he said.
Allen was suspended the first two games by the commissioner last season for multiple DUI convictions. But Allen says he has stopped drinking entirely, a claim backed up by close friends.
"I've seen Jared at a big party, out on the dance floor, where everybody is drinking except one person. It's Jared, and he's having the best time of everybody," said Chiefs fullback Boomer Grigsby.
The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Allen was drafted with a supplemental fourth-round pick out of Idaho State in 2004.
In addition to a league-leading 15½ sacks for 111 yards in losses, he had 67 tackles, three forced fumbles and 18 pressures. In his first game back from the suspension against the Vikings, he had nine tackles, two sacks, a pressure and a pass defended. He also forced Adrian Peterson to fumble.
Coming in on offense in goal line situations, he also caught a pair of one-yard touchdown passes. He was named a starter on the Pro Bowl.