Jason Whitlock once dubbed Jared Allen the Space Cowboy, a name that never really stuck. My nickname for him, the One Man Gang, at least seemed to stick around here, and it sure seems valid right about now. After all, it looks like Jared put his once-in-a-lifetime contract above the entire Chiefs family–Kansas City, his teammates, the front office and, most of all, the fans. I can’t say that I blame him, except that I kind of feel like Jared’s relationship with Kansas City and the fans was a facade. That’s why I’m thinking Space Cowboy might actually be a better moniker for him right about now…
Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
Cause I speak of the pompitus of love.
People talk about me, baby
Say I’m doin’ you wrong, doin’ you wrong
Well, don’t you worry baby
Don’t worry cause I’m right here, right here, right here,
right here at home
Cause I’m a picker
I’m a grinner
I’m a lover
And I’m a sinner
I play my music in the sun.
I’m a joker
I’m a smoker
I’m a midnight toker
I get my loving on the run… wooo woooo… – Steve Miller’s “The Joker”
Whether it was because he was the Space Cowboy off the field, or the Gangster of Love on it, Chiefs fans cherished Jared Allen. When he got his DUIs, a lot of people did worry and, myself included, said that he had done us wrong and didn’t deserve his big raise. Such raises were instead reserved for star players like Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez, players who had performed well on the field and off of it. But somehow he soothed our worries, got his suspension cut in half and convinced us that he was a Chief-for-life reborn, despite earlier comments to the contrary.
And that was just for those of us who were skeptical. Most fans already had taken the bait–hook line and sinker. But eventually we all did.
I’m not sure if Jared’s popularity was because of his play; his hustle, calf-ropin’ celebrations and Honkey sensibilities; or more due to his accessibility and down-to-earth nature. Regardless, his popularity even exceeded that of Tony Gonzalez. I guess Tony is kinda still looked at as the California kid, and not really a true Kansas Citian. The natives tend to get turned off by vegan shakes and commitment ceremonies, I suppose. L.J. has similar issues; he’s a nice guy who’s probably too private, sophisticated and urban for his own good in a town like K.C.(and, yes, he was overly demonstrative one game…heaven forbid…I’m competitive,too, I understand).
I like a little variety on my favorite team, and as long as they’re loyal, stay out of trouble and make plays on Sundays, I’ve got their back. Not most Chiefs fans–they want someone like Jared.
I can say all this because Boomer Grigsby–who had basically none of Jared’s talent, but all of his personality and then some–was just as popular as No. 69. Whether it was because of his skin, his style or his sacks, or all of the above, Jared had the entire City of Fountains wrapped around his finger.
(By the way, let’s not go overboard on the Chris Long love because he’s also a White defensive end with a high motor, and his old man reminds us of J.A. Skeet Ulrich looks a helluva lot like Johnny Depp, but Skeet can’t act for shit when compared to Johnny. Catch my drift?)
Then, during last season, Jared was a picker, a grinner, a lover and a sinner, and every Sunday, boy, did he ever play his music in the sun (except in the fourth quarter–zero sacks!). With the way he played, his new K.C. restaurant and his relationship with fans and teammates, we all thought he was here for good. He wanted things to appear that way, but deep down he knew differently.
Jared knew the Chiefs were a somewhat frugal organization, which isn’t always a bad thing. He knew that he had made his own bed with a checkered pre-Chiefs past and two DUIs as a Chief. He knew he would never get his highest-paid-defender-in-the-NFL riches in BBQ Bedlam. That’s why he signed the deal he did last year, quit drinking (we’ll see if that lasts), said all the right things and played like a man possessed. Well, for the first three quarters of games at least. It was a contract year and he played the part, did what he had to do to get that money. I don’t blame him for the plan, I blame him for pulling the wool over our eyes.
When this offseason rolled around, he let his real plan unfold. He knew he wasn’t going to get Marlon Brando Superman dough from the Chiefs, but he had an out. Carl Peterson. Everybody’s villain. He knew that right or wrong, if he went to war with Peterson that not only would he emerge as the good guy, but he’d likely become the NFL’s richest DE. After all, he read the Chiefs blogosphere from time to time. Dude knew we were fed up with King Carl, ready to dethrone his ass. He knew we were frustrated by his five-year-but-going-on-twenty plan, his lengthy contract disputes, draft reaches and bargain-bin free agents. He knew the journalist ogre Joeson Posnansklock and the rest of the Star would dive in to save him before checking the waters. He knew that most of the blogosphere would do the same.
Not me. I’m lots of things, but I ain’t no sucker. I also bleed Red and Gold, more so it appears than certain players. Certain ex-players now.
I’ll admit, Jared was a great player and a decent, entertaining dude, but let’s not get carried away. Homeboy orchestrated his escape from Arrowhead pretty damn fast for this to have been a spur-of-the-moment decision. He fooled us, folks. He won our hearts, then ran off for a payday. Like the song, lovin’ on the run. Because of this, I thank him for his outstanding play and all the fond memories, but I’m not shedding any tears. He obviously didn’t want to be a Chief, so, personally, I didn’t want him to be one any longer either.
You think Derrick Thomas, Tony G or Will Shields would have hightailed it out of town just because they had a little scrape or two with Carl? No effin’ way. They both had lots of scrapes with Carl, same with L.J and many other Chiefs. Jared’s behavior, and his insistence on a ridiculous contract (yes, $75 M with $30 M guaranteed is a boatload of cash for basically an alcoholic in remission with an extensive history of DUIs) despite that behavior, forced our hand.
I’m not a Carl Peterson fan either. If you’ve been here all offseason, then you know that right after the season I called for him to step down as G.M. and move to the business side of operations. He’s screwed up royally, and deserved to be fired following the 4-12 season. Still, in this situation, he was right. Not only was Peterson right, he came out of last night’s trade a winner.
Not only did he convince another team to give a “young man at risk” (his words, not mine) Dwight-Freeney-and-then-some money when we weren’t going to pay him anything close to that, he got a middle first rounder and two third round picks, all 2008 picks, out of the deal. If Minnesota was smart they would have waited until after the draft to have signed him, poison pilled us and given us two later first-round picks, one in 2009 and one in 2010. But somehow King Carl convinced those purple jesters up in the Twin Cities that we actually might match a deal. Well, I can’t give all the credit to Carl. I’m sure the Vikings realized that Tarvaris Jackson can only take a team so far, too.
The fallout, regardless if you agree with me or not, is that Jared is gone, Carl is still king and the Chiefs have the opportunity to have their best draft in franchise history. With three top 40 picks, six picks in the top 100 and the most trade value chart points of any team, the Chiefs control this draft’s destiny. That’s especially true considering that the Chiefs own the prime real estate that is the No. 5 overall pick, for sure to be the target of multiple potential trades.
Now that I’ve let it all out on this one, I’m going to move on to what kind of damage we can do with the plethora of picks we’ve assembled. Watch out for “Adam’s Draft Apples,” the guys I covet heading into the draft, dropping before the weekend. For now, make sure to sound off yourselves on the Jared Allen trade.