The Chicago Bears continued to bolster their defensive line on Thursday, signing free agent All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen. Allen, who had 11.5 sacks for the Minnesota Vikings signed a four-year $32 million deal ($15.5 million guaranteed).
Allen who will turn 32 next month, will join a defensive line that now includes Brandon’s Israel Idonije. Idonije, the University of Manitoba graduate, signed a one-year deal with the Bears on March 18.
Allen had 52 tackles to go with his 11.5 sacks in Minnesota last season. The best year of his career came in 2011 when he almost set the NFL single-season record for sacks with 22, finishing a half-sack short of Michael Strahan’s league record.
“I’d like to take a moment to thank my former teammates, coaches and the staff at the Minnesota Vikings for all of their inspiring work and dedication,” Allen said on Thursday. “Perhaps more importantly I would like to thank the fans and the Minnesota community. I can only hope that I have left you all with even a fraction of the positive support and impact you have had on my life, my foundation and my family. I am very excited about this next chapter in my career with the Chicago Bears and can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. God bless.”
Allen will join a defensive line that also includes DT Nate Collins, DE Lamarr Houston, DE Austen Lane, DE Shea McClellin, DE Cheta Ozougwu, DE Tracy Robertson, DE Trevor Scott, DE Cornelius Washington, DE Willie Young, DE David Bass and DT Idonije. With the addition of Allen, who will replace an aging Julius Peppers, the Bears should have one of the best defensive lines in the NFC North.
After being released out of training camp by the Cleveland Browns (the team that signed Idonije out of the East-West Shrine Bowl), Idonije went on to spend the first nine years of his career with Chicago before joining the Detroit Lions last season. In just one season with the Lions, Idonije participated in 15 games and contributed 11 tackles and a half sack.
When Idonije signed with the Lions, he was coming off a 2012 season with the Bears in which he finished second on the team with 7.5 sacks. By returning, Idonije will provide the Bears with scheme versatility because of his ability to line up outside at defensive end and inside at defensive tackle. He’s also a leader in the locker room and many within the organization believe he never should have been allowed to leave Chicago in the first place.
During his final four seasons in Chicago, Idonije recorded 23 sacks. In 149 career NFL games, Izzy has started 50 games and has 29 sacks and 203 tackles.