The Chicago Bears replaced one accomplished veteran pass rusher with another Wednesday when they agreed to terms with Jared Allen on a four-year contract.
A person with knowledge of the agreement tells The Associated Press that Allen will get $15.5 million guaranteed on a deal that could be worth as much as $32 million. The person requested anonymity because the terms of the deal have not been officially announced.
Allen's deal can be voided down to three years and $24 million, but the first two years of his salary and a roster bonus next March are fully guaranteed.
The 31-year-old Allen will take over for Julius Peppers, who left Chicago for Green Bay as a free agent. Chicago's defense ranked 30th in the NFL last season and was 32nd and last against the run.
Allen spent the previous six seasons with the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings. He had 11½ sacks last season and has reached double digits in sacks for seven straight years. He also is considered a solid run defender.
Allen also had talks with the Seahawks and Cowboys. His joining the Bears adds plenty of intrigue to the NFC North picture.
The Vikings acquired Allen from Kansas City in 2007 and signed him to a six-year, $73 million contract that at the time made him the highest-paid defensive player in the league. Allen was one of the most-feared pass rushers in the league over the life of that deal, including 2011 when he made 22 sacks. He made $17 million last season and the Vikings, who were coming off a disappointing 5-10-1 year, were looking to get younger at the position.
Minnesota signed Everson Griffen to a big contract to take Allen's place and also said goodbye to stalwart defensive tackle Kevin Williams in a revamped front four under new coach Mike Zimmer. The Vikings did express an early interest in having Allen return, but it became clear early in the process that the numbers wouldn't match up.
Allen said he wasn't looking to simply chase Super Bowl rings or become a situational pass rusher at this stage of his career, so he took his time trying to find the right fit. When Allen hit the market with Peppers and the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, three of the most accomplished defensive ends of their generation were available. Ware signed with Denver and Peppers got a three-year, $26.5 million deal with $7.5 million guaranteed from the Packers earlier in free agency.