Monday, April 21, 2008

Jared Allen + Draft week = head exploding!

I (like many ESPN watching freaks my age) love the NFL Draft. Mock drafts are like crack, I can't get enough of them. But THIS year we basically have the whole Jared Allen intrigue rolled into draft week. There are just so many thoughts on this week that my head is about to explode!

First of all lets not get caught up in whole 'keeping him in town until he signs' fascination. Obviously he has left town after touring the best steak houses in town. But this isn't a straight up free agent signing. Were is as simple as signing Allen to a fat contract I have no doubt it would be finished by now. BUT we have to compensate the Chefs as well. And there was no way they were going to let him sign and make a deal with Minnesota before they use Tampa as leverage to get a better deal. In order to get a deal done this past weekend would essentially would have had to pay Allen the money he so richly deserves wants, AND give Kansas City their asking price. To have him signed as of today we would have had no leverage and would have overpaid what we are already going to overpay.

We should still be in good shape though. Ever team in the League values draft picks (Mike Ditka being the lone exception but he's at ESPN now). Every team values draft picks and we are in a much better position to give up picks than Tampa Bay is. As you can see in the technical chart below our first round pick is 3 spots higher and then our 2nd and 3rd round selections are 10 spots higher. So by this I deduct that in order for Tampa to land Allen they will have to overpay what Minnesota is willing to pay. So let's say we are offering our 1st and 2nd round picks, both in this year's draft. Then Tampa will have to offer this year's 1st and next year's 1st, or this year's 1st & 2nd and another pick. But then they are giving up three of their five picks in this year's draft.

It is complicated but the facts are these...

  1. In every round we have the higher selection.
  2. They have five total picks we have nine.
  3. We have two in the third round.
The Tampa Tribune is awfully pessimistic about their chances.

20 1st Rnd 17
57 2nd Rnd 47
83 3rd Rnd 73
- 3rd Rnd 82
120 4th Rnd 117

Another facet of this whole Jared Allen thing that is getting blown way out of proportion is his DUI issues. I agree that if he were to get caught again it would be a year lost and would make this potential deal look really, really bad for the Vikings. I understand there is a risk involved but what bothers me is the notion that because Childress is instituting his "culture of accountability" we should just steer clear of Allen. The CofA doesn't mean we only bring in choir boys. If Allen has truly quit drinking and is a better citizen then there is no reason we shouldn't be able to sign him. Chris Carter was a drunk and a menace to Philadelphia. But he turned his life around and was a model citizen in Minnesota (although completely arrogant). The CofA means that if he screws up he has to be held accountable, it does not mean we judge and assume guilt.

With all of that said it is time to play the waiting game.

The closer we get to the Vikings being on the clock at #17 the better for us. Kansas City knows that they will not see Allen play another snap for the Chefs. They want picks, they want them this year and they want them badly. I see three waiting game scenarios and they are all best for Minnesota...
  1. Pick #17 comes around and Minnesota is set to make their selection. At this point Kansas City can make a deal with us or take a lesser deal with Tampa. If they continue to play hardball, we make our pick and go into next year with a good chance of making the playoffs with current roster. Not ideal for us but we save money, we save our picks and we are still an 8-8 team looking to improve in 2008.
  2. Nothing happens during the draft, we sign him to an offer sheet following the draft, Kansas City doesn't match and we sign him forfeiting our 1st round selections in 2009 and 2010. In this scenario we lose two 1st round picks, but we pick up a dominant DE, pick up nine rookies in this year's draft and head into 2008 as a favorite to win the division and push for the NFC.
  3. Nothing happens, Allen is still a Chef for 2008 as their franchise player. Under this scenario we keep all draft picks and have a great shot at signing Allen next offseason. This doesn't do much for us in 2008 but 2009 would be a very interesting season. I assume this scenario has very tiny legs as the likelihood of Allen staying a Chef are slim to none.
Considering there are few teams involved in discussions for Allen and we seem to have a sweeter deal to offer than Tampa, things are looking good for Minnesota. My best guess is that a deal is made Saturday. In fact Minnesota will sit tight and see how long Derrick Harvey falls in the draft. If he were to fall to #17 then our position only gets stronger. Once he gets selected I see us pulling the trigger.

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