Chicago • The Chicago Bears were looking to jolt their struggling defense. How does adding Jared Allen sound?
The Bears agreed to a four-year contract with the five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Wednesday, replacing one accomplished pass rusher with another as they rebuild a defense that ranked among the league’s worst last season.
A person with knowledge of the agreement told 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 have not been 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 spent the previous six years with the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings. He will take over for Julius Peppers, who signed with Green Bay as a free agent after being released by the Bears.
Rivera on Smith: We have to move on
The Carolina Panthers believe Steve Smith lost “top-end” speed, one reason the franchise parted ways with its all-time leading receiver.
Speaking publicly for the first time since cutting Smith two weeks ago, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday they had to “move on eventually.”
Rivera says Smith “didn’t lose his speed. He lost his top end. Steve still fought and would still find ways to make plays. But as far as the football decision goes, we have to move on eventually. This was an opportunity to do it.”
Smith signed a three-year contract with Baltimore about 24 hours after the Panthers released him.
Saints re-sign reserve QB Luke McCown
New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says the club has agreed to the terms of a one-year contract with quarterback Luke McCown, who was Drew Brees’ backup last season, as well as the holder on field goals.
McCown, whose re-signing was announced on Wednesday, is entering his 11th NFL season out of Louisiana Tech.
McCown has played in 38 regular season games in his career, including nine starts, and has completed 184 of 317 passes for 2,035 yards, nine touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Kelly’s cancer adds to anguish for Bills
The death this week of Ralph Wilson, founder and sole owner of the Buffalo Bills, was but half the heartache of the NFL franchise and its fans.
Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s, found out two weeks ago that the oral cancer he was originally diagnosed with in June has returned. His wife, Jill, wrote on her blog that “the cancer’s back, aggressive, and starting to spread.” The 54-year-old Kelly, an icon in western New York, is hospitalized in Manhattan, and has been visited by a steady stream of Bills teammates.