The end has come for many great NFL players this year, and that includes star defensive end, Jared Allen. The Carolina Panthers pass rusher officially retired from the league via social media on Thursday afternoon, using a video to literally “ride off into the sunset”.

Allen made it to his only career Super Bowl just weeks ago with the Panthers and ideally would have been able to finish his career with a Super Bowl ring. That wasn’t to be, but that didn’t stop Allen from “going out on top” by letting his final game be an appearance on the league’s biggest stage. Unlike some other NFL retirees making waves in the past two years, Allen’s hang up of the cleats makes plenty of sense. Allen still possessed some solid ability to get after the quarterback in spurts, but at almost 34 years old, the 4-time All Pro sensed that his days of registering double-digit sack season were likely over.

Allen capped his final NFL season with a trip to the Super Bowl, but was only able to muster up two sacks while in Carolina this past year. With just eight total sacks in his final two NFL seasons one in Chicago), Allen probably saw the writing on the wall and decided to call it a career.

Lasting Mark

Jared Allen certainly won’t be leaving the game of football without leaving a mark, as he owns an elite 22-sack season to his name and stands in at 9th overall in league history with 136 quarterback sacks. Originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs out of Idaho State in the fourth round, Allen quickly displayed an elite motor and an array of power moves that helped him ascend to the top of the defensive end ranks. Upon latching on with the Minnesota Vikings in 2008, Allen’s career really took off, as he was able to register six straight 10+ sack seasons with the team before exiting in free agency in 2014. Allen will likely one day be retired as a Viking and will go down as one of the best pass rushers of the modern era.

While many will be sad to see Allen go, he was bound to get cut by the Panthers if he hadn’t chosen to retire, and his market would have been remarkably weak. Allen instead decided to stop bouncing from team to team, while a pay cut likely did not look attractive to a player nearing the age of 35.

Carolina Benefits

This ends up being fantastic news for Carolina in the long run, as they got all they could out of a regressing legend and now can cut his gaudy $8.5 million salary off the books. The Panthers already have a stacked defense even with Allen not coming back, and thanks to a strong showing in the playoffs, will also probably want to work Kony Ealy into a bigger role. Whether that happens or not, Carolina will likely look to add some quality pass rush talent in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft, while Allen’s departing salary also could help them address other issues such as wide receiver.

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