Jared Allen has long been one of the NFL's most-feared pass-rushers, and his decorated career may finally be coming to an end. Allen hasn't had the attention you'd expect him to get in free agency, largely because his asking price is more than what teams are willing to give an almost 32-year-old defensive end.
His strongest suitor of the free agency period so far has been the Denver Broncos, but they ostensibly removed themselves from the conversation when they shifted their sights on the newly-signed DeMarcus Ware (according to Ian Rapoport, NFL.com).
Now that the team that was most interested in him has pulled out of the race, his options are limited. Given the unfavorable market Allen is faced with, Rapoport has reported he would be "very much at peace" with walking away from football if he can't get the deal he wants (via RotoWorld.com).
According to Pro Football Talk, Allen is still in talks with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, but nothing is imminent and talks could dissipate. If he isn't able to find a team that will pay him what he feels he deserves, then Allen should definitely consider retiring from the NFL.
It's not like he can't play anymore, and he's done enough in this league to warrant a fair-market price. Let's also not forget he's coming off an 11.5-sack season, his sixth-straight year with double-digit sacks.
Recently, Rapoport shared some knowledge on the Allen retirement situation (via NFL.com):
He wants his market value, he wants his fair salary, and if he does not get it, Jared Allen is very much at peace ... He is willing to simply go about his life and walk away from football. Jared Allen has a ton of admiration for Barry Sanders, who walked away from football while still having his best, still able to play at a high level. He walked on his own terms, it's something Jared Allen has always respected.
Allen has performed very well on teams with little talent, and a Super Bowl ring would be the perfect end to Allen's NFL story—although it appears he may not be so fortunate.
Although a championship has eluded him, Allen has surely achieved a whole lot in the NFL and should walk away from the game if he feels it's the right time. He is very involved with charities off the field and would undoubtedly have a fulfilling life outside of football.
It's not farfetched to think this is a ploy by Allen to draw the deal he wants from the teams interested in him, but regardless, retirement doesn't seem like such a bad idea if you're him.
Plus, wouldn't it be fun to see him as an analyst on a pregame show? Especially if he's got the mullet goin' on.