The Bears traded Jared Allen to the Panthers on Monday, allowing the future Hall of Famer to move back to defensive end after a failed experiment at outside linebacker.
“We had some depth at the linebacker position and were able to reach an agreement with the Panthers to bring a 2016 draft pick to our team in exchange for Jared Allen,” GM Ryan Pace said in a statement. “Whether it is acquiring additional picks or signing players, we will continue to be aggressive in finding ways to improve our football team.
“We appreciate Jared’s contributions and wish him the best in Carolina.”
The Bears declined to divulge the draft pick they received, but sources confirmed it was a sixth-rounder in 2016.
“I think it’s a win-win for both sides,” Bears coach John Fox said Monday night on the “Bears Coaches Show” on WBBM-AM. “Jared did everything we asked. He was all-in as far as learning outside linebacker. But truth be told, I think his experience in a very, very good career has been with his hand in the dirt in a 4-3. This was an opportunity for us to get a sixth-round draft pick as well as give him an opportunity to finish his career as a defensive end.”
Sam Acho, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young are candidates to replace Allen in the starting lineup. Young was a healthy scratch Sunday.
“We lose a leader, a leader out of our locker room,” outside linebacker Pernell McPhee said Monday at Halas Hall. “We lose a great guy, a great teammate.”
He is “definitely going to be missed,” defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins said. Jenkins said Allen gave him pointers.
“The thing about him is, he can critique every spot on the defensive line,” he said.
Allen moved to outside linebacker this season after spending his entire career as a 4-3 defensive end — and one of the greatest to ever play the position. He started the Bears’ first three games. Allen was not in the Bears’ locker room Sunday when the media was allowed in.
He had five tackles, one pass defense and one interception this season.
Allen, a future Hall of Famer, is the active leader with 134 sacks. Only 5 1/2 came with the Bears, none this season.
Allen made a $1 million base salary and was paid a $11.5 million roster bonus this season.
On the Panthers, Allen could play a defense more to his comfort level. John Fox said earlier Monday that the Bears had so many outside linebackers they had to sit some — in Sunday’s case, Willie Young — for the sake of special teams.
The former Chiefs and Vikings star signed a four-year, $32 million deal before the 2014 season.