At 3-0, the Carolina Panthers are in a good position to have an outstanding season. With the all the injures though, a great season can turn into a nightmare in a heartbeat in the NFL. Yesterday's hamstring injury to defensive end Charles Johnson was too much to overlook and that's why the team made a trade today for Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen.
If you watched yesterday's game, Luke McCown had all day to throw as the Panthers had very little pressure on the Saints back up QB. They would only sack him once as he threw for 310 yards on 31 of 38 passing. There are some much better quarterbacks on the schedule coming up including Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, and Matt Ryan. If you give those guys as much time as McCown had yesterday, the Panthers are going to be in A LOT of trouble.
Hopefully Allen will give this team the pass rusher they DESPERATELY need especially with Johnson out at least 1 week and possibly more.
Allen comes to Carolina from the Chicago Bears where he just didn't fit anymore. Under new head coach John Fox (yep, former Panthers head coach), the Bears made the switch to a 3-4 defense. Allen is a rush end and he was asked to play outside linebacker with the Bears. Coming to the Panthers (who run the 4-3 defense), they will ask him to only rush the passer as a defensive end.
But I think the best part of this deal is what the Panthers are giving up for Allen. According to reports, the Panthers are giving the Bears a conditional draft pick (possibly a 6th rounder). Chicago is going to pay Allen's 11 million dollar signing bonus and the Panthers only have to pay Allen a little more than $800,000 the rest of the season. That is one heck of a deal for the Panthers GM Dave Gettleman, who is doing a heck of a job managing the team's salary cap.
Since Allen came into the league back in 2004, he leads the NFL in sacks with 134 and fumble recoveries with 19.
At 33 years old, Allen is not a spring chicken, but the hope is, he still has a lot left in the tank to be a major force on an already great defense.
Allen comes to the 3-0 Panthers from the 0-3 Bears. Don't overlook that fact either as he moves from a rebuilding effort to a team with BIG GOALS this season.
The trade also comes at a great time for the team. The Panthers take on 1-2 Tampa Sunday before a bye next week. Allen could come in right away and play for the Panthers on Sunday in pass rushing situations like 3rd and long. Then gets a week to really familiarize himself with the Panthers defense in depth before a tough game versus Seattle in week 6.
Fans have not always understood what the Panthers front office was doing when it came to trades and free agent pick ups, but BIG kudos to Carolina for addressing a big team need and trying to keep this team on track to reach its full potential in the 2015-16 season. I say 2016 because this team is looking more and more like a playoff team week by week, but then again, it's the NFL and you NEVER KNOW.