Tampa Bay running back Michael Bennett reacted to the news that broke Thursday regarding of the possibility of Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen reuniting with him as a Buccaneer. Bennett spoke to PewterReport.com about what it would be like to have Allen, who has 43 career sacks in four seasons, as a teammate again.
"It would be unbelievable," Bennett said of Allen, who led the league in sacks with 15.5 last year. "You know, you've seen what the guy can do. He's a defensive end, he's a pass rusher and he can catch touchdowns. The motor that the guy has and the work ethic that he has day in and day out, I've never been around a guy who wants to get better each and every day like this guy, whether it is practice or working on his technique. He's a superior athlete and a guy I know would help our defensive line tremendously. He's a guy that is going to require a double team. If he can do that and take pressure off [defensive tackle] Jovan Haye and [DT] Chris Hovan, then that is going to open up [defensive ends] Gaines Adams, Kevin Carter and Patrick Chukwurah."
Last season Allen was suspended for two games due to two DUI arrests in the same year. New Buccaneer defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson filled in for Allen in those two games and recorded a sack. With Allen's outgoing personality and his run-ins, many people openly questioned Allen's character and commitment to football. As a former teammate Bennett could speak to the person that Allen is.
"Jared has really matured and he's over that," Bennett said. "I've been around the guy and know how serious he takes his job. A lot of people make mistakes and we learn from them. He's a true warrior in the locker room and a very, very, very team-oriented guy. He's a very funny guy who would bring a lot of humor to a locker room that is already filled with a lot of veterans and great leaders. He would just add another one to us."
The Buccaneers have inquired about Allen through Bennett, who was happy to share his intimate knowledge and opinion of Allen.
"[The Bucs] do a great job of assessing our team and our players and getting guys that fit our scheme," Bennett said. "They asked me about Jared and what type of person he is and what type of player he is. If we get him, man, it will be a great, great, great addition to our team."
Allen, 26, was franchised by Kansas City earlier in the offseason. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings have since talked with Kansas City about possibly trading for Allen's rights.
The Chiefs are believed to be looking for at least a first-round draft pick as compensation. In addition the team that trades for Allen must first work out a long-term, lucrative deal with the Pro Bowl defensive end.
Allen could be looking to become the highest-paid defensive end in the NFL, which would mean he would need to receive a contract that rivals or exceeds the six-year, $72 million deal Colts DE Dwight Freeney received during the 2007 offseason.
The Buccaneers own the 20th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and have approximately $25 million in salary cap room. The Vikings own the 17th overall pick in the first round and currently are $14 million under the cap.
"We will confirm that we have been in conversation with a few teams regarding the possibility of acquiring Jared Allen's contractual rights," said Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson in a statement issued by the team on Thursday evening.
"Jared is not an exclusive franchise player. Therefore, based on the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he has the right to visit and negotiate with other teams. However, for any trade to be completed, the Chiefs would need to reach an agreement on compensation. At this point, all of these discussions are preliminary."
Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen has plenty of experience negotiating trades with Peterson. The Bucs traded for former Bennett and defensive tackle Ryan Sims last year, and signed Wilkerson earlier in the offseason.
According to an NFL source, Allen could visit the Vikings this week and might make a trip to Tampa to meet with the Buccaneers next week.
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