112812-NFL-Minnesota-Vikings-Jared-Allen-TV-Pi1_2012112817045880_660_320Last December, the Chicago Bears were a fourth-and-eight stop away from claiming their first division title since 2010. Aaron Rodgers promptly hit Randall Cobb for a game-winning 48-yard touchdown.

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Looks like the front office got the memo.

The Bears made another major move to retool their defense Wednesday, signing perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen to a four-year contract worth up to $32 million. Allen comes to Chicago with 128.5 career sacks, and will replace departed DEs Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton on the edge. He and newly-inked Lamarr Houston lead Chi-Town’s new-look front seven, after the Bears ranked last in the NFL in rush defense in 2013. They also tied for last in sacks.


It’s been a busy offseason for marquee defensive linemen. Allen’s deal is in line with the one DeMarcus Ware received from the Denver Broncos earlier this month. The Bears had cap room for Allen’s $15.5 million in guaranteed money after quarterback Jay Cutler freed up $4 million from his new contract.

The always competitive NFC North will be especially contentious this fall. Allen comes from the rival Minnesota Vikings, while Peppers and Wootton remain in the division after signing with Green Bay and Minnesota, respectively.

Allen has notched at least 11 sacks in every season since 2007, and was just a half-sack shy of Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5 back in 2011. But the 11-year veteran turns 32 next month, and was initially considering retirement this winter. D-linemen are rarely able to maintain careers past their 30s.

Does Jared Allen still have enough in the tank to turn around the Bears defense? Drop a comment and let us know.