Does Jonathan Allen hold the key to Commanders rebuild timeline?

There is a lot riding on the decision surrounding Jonathan Allen's future...

Jonathan Allen
Jonathan Allen / Tom Hauck/GettyImages

Veteran defensive tackle Jonathan Allen's uncertain future adds complexity to Washington Commanders' upcoming rebuild.

Adam Peters has a lot to navigate during his first season as Washington Commanders general manager. Discussing and deciding on Jonathan Allen's future is one of them.

The veteran defensive tackle and undisputed alpha within the locker room was a shell of his former self this season. Allen's frustrations with constantly losing often resulted in media outbursts in the hope it could spark everyone into life. Unfortunately, these forthright statements didn't have the desired effect.

Allen highlighted his lack of enthusiasm to go through yet another rebuild in Washington. He's approaching 30 years old and has experienced nothing but misery from a results standpoint since entering the league as a first-round pick out of Alabama. The player even hinted his future might lie away from the Commanders in pursuit of hopefully joining a contender.

Commanders braced for tough Jonathan Allen decision

This is one of the most important player-related decisions facing Peters in the coming weeks. Much will also depend on what the new head coach thinks when he gets into the building. Something that Ben Standig of The Athletic believes could provide a window into how long Washington's upcoming rebuild is going to take.

"We may never hear a definitive timeline plan for [Josh] Harris or [Adam] Peters. What the organization does with the two-time Pro Bowler will say plenty. Two years remain on the original four-year, $72 million extension [Jonathan] Allen signed in 2021. The remaining cap hits, starting with $21.4 million in 2024, are steep. That Allen’s deal includes zero guaranteed dollars in the future, and the annual salary falls below Payne’s $22.5 million average, are the likely sticking points. If Allen, 29, and his agent seek an extension, does it make sense for Washington to offer one if it sees the team taking time to develop? Keeping Allen maintains the potent interior combo for a defense that lacks obvious strengths otherwise."

Ben Standig, The Athletic
Jonathan Allen / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Peters will no doubt arrange a sit down with Allen and his representatives to discuss his vision for the franchise. The outspoken team captain will also have some thoughts about the future. If the pair cannot find some common ground, then the prospect of a trade to acquire even more draft capital becomes increasingly realistic.

Offering Allen a contract extension seems unlikely, in all honesty. He's got two years and more than $43 million on his remaining deal with no guarantees attached. The price is unlikely to go down despite his drop in production. Washington has far too many holes to justify more money being allocated in his direction - especially after they traded Montez Sweat and Chase Young to provide financial flexibility.

Allen would leave gaping shoes to fill if the Commanders do end up shipping him off at some stage this offseason. Washington hoped Phidarian Mathis would have enough experience and development to fill the void by this point, but the jury is still out as to whether he's capable of slotting into a prominent starting role.

There should be a queue of suitors for Allen if the Commanders made him available for trade. Instigating a bidding war could potentially extract maximum value - perhaps a second-round pick and something further down. While that would assist enormously, letting the interior force leave should temper expectations about the speed of Washington's rebuilding process.

If the Commanders decide to extend Allen, it's a sign they feel like a situation could emerge where the team can contend almost immediately. But providing the fanbase with delusions of grandeur wouldn't be well received considering what Washington's long-suffering support endured under the previous owner.

It's a precarious situation. One that Peters must handle correctly and in the Commanders' best interests.

After all, this is a business above everything else.