Jay Cutler, offense were crucial to Bears signing Jared Allen
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter March 31, 2014 5:13PM
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 15: Jared Allen #69 of the Minnesota Vikings causes Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears to fumble the ball during the first half on September 15, 2013 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Updated: March 31, 2014 5:14PM
It was 5 a.m. in Arizona and defensive end Jared Allen had just heard back from his agent, who was in Orlando, Fla. during the NFL owners meetings. The details of his next contract had been worked out and he would soon officially a member of the Chicago Bears.
And then Allen received another call.
“[Jay] Cutler called me right away,” a smiling Allen said Monday at Halas Hall. “And I was like, ‘Jay, I’ve got to call you back, it’s 5:30 in the morning.’ I’m going back to bed.”
Offseason sleep cycles and time changes aside, Allen couldn’t be more enthralled to be joining Cutler and the Bears’ high-octane offense.
“I know what it takes to prepare for this offense — and it sucks,” Allen said. “[The] week in, you go, ‘Argghh.’ ”
Allen, who turns 32 on Thursday, said “everything lined up” for him when it to came to joining the Bears. His wife is from Chicago. He was married here. He gets to stay in the NFC North. His contract (four years, $32 million, $15.5 million guaranteed) worked, too.
But Cutler and coach Marc Trestman were just as crucial.
“Chicago was always in my top-5 short list because they have a quarterback,” Allen said. “They have an offense.”
It’s an offense that scored the second most points in the league in 2013, but also one that “left a lot out there,” according to Trestman.
The Bears have arguably the best receiving tandem in league in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, while running back Matt Forte fell just 67 yards short of 2,000 total yards from scrimmage last season.
“Just from playing against them — Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery — those are two of the top receivers you’re going to play against with that size,” Allen said.
“He’s a dual threat,” Allen said. “He can run for a [1,000 yards]. He can catch for a thousand. What are you going to do?”
Allen, who notched 85.5 sacks in his six years with the Minnesota Vikings, compared Cutler’s elusiveness to that of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“Jay is crazy good with what he can do inside the pocket.” Allen said. “People talk about how Roethlisberger, how he can extend plays. I think Jay is probably the tops in pocket presence of just making it hard to rush against.”
Allen also opted to join the Bears because he feels they are closer than people think to being a Super Bowl-caliber team. He’s excited about playing next to defensive end Jeremiah Ratliff and opposite Lamarr Houston, while joining a defense led by linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman.
“We’re going to be a vaunted Bears defense again,” Allen said. “It’s going to start with us up front.”
As for himself, Allen, who will start at right end, said he has “a lot left in the tank.”
“I feel like I can make waves,” he said. “I want to win a Super Bowl. Let’s make that clear. And I think the Bears, with an offense and a quarterback you always have a chance. And now you throw a good defense in that.”