The Washington Football Team made a significant move just one day before training camp began earlier this week, as they signed defensive lineman and team captain Jonathan Allen to a lucrative four-year extension.
Whether the two sides would come to an agreement was a major storyline throughout the offseason. Although talks went down until hours before camp began, it ended up working out with both parties happy with the end result.
“It was something that we've been working on since I want to say April," Allen told reporters on Wednesday in Richmond. "We've been in constant communication, it was a tough negotiation, but at the end of the day both sides wanted to get a deal done and I'm glad we were able to do it before training camp. So, I'm ecstatic, I'm happy and I'm ready to play some football.”
For Allen, a player who carries a no-nonsense, all-business attitude that head coach Ron Rivera loves, getting the deal done was a major relief for him.
By finalizing the extension before training camp, Allen can now focus solely on football as he enters his fifth season in the NFL with by far the most talented roster he's been a part of since entering the league.
“It was just a relief. Now I can just get back to focusing on football," he said. "I don't have to worry about the contract. I can just go out there and do what I've always done.” Download and follow the Washington Football Talk podcast
Although the two sides were able to reach an agreement, Allen admitted that months of negotiating were tough. There's a reason it took so long for the extension to come to fruition, as the two sides went back and forth before reaching a deal.
“It's tough because that's not something I've ever done before and whenever a player goes to the first negotiation it’s their first time and it's going to be emotional," Allen said.
"I don't care what anybody says, I know they say it's not emotional, it’s just business, but this is life-changing money, and it changes your future immediate[ly] and down the road," he continued. "So, it was definitely emotional and personal, but I'm just glad we were able to come to an agreement, get both sides happy and both sides got what they wanted.”
Throughout his first four years in the NFL, Allen has repeatedly said at times that he wants to finish his career in Washington. While the 26-year-old understands his new deal likely won't last him through the rest of his NFL tenure, it's still a big step in the right direction of accomplishing that goal.
"One of my goals since coming into the NFL is to play my entire career with one team. And even though this contract doesn't mean I'll be able to play my entire career here, it does make it more of a reality and creates more security for me and my family long-term," Allen said. "We know we're going to be here, we know we're going to have financial security for the rest of our lives and that means a lot."
While Allen's goal has always been to play his entire career with one franchise, playing for Washington means a little more to him than if he were to be rostered by one of the other 31 clubs. Allen is a graduate of Stone Brook High School, located in Ashburn, Va. just over six miles from Washington's team facility.
When asked if his contract extension is special because it's his hometown team, Allen responded by saying "yeah, 100 percent."
Although Allen is now signed long-term, the defensive tackle remains "as hungry as ever." Washington has its best roster in recent memory entering the 2021 season and expectations are high. Fans expect Washington to be playoff contenders once again this fall, and Allen should have a major role in whether that happens or not.
"Pressure is still there, pressure to live up to the contract is still there and I'm still as hungry as ever," Allen said. "I appreciate Coach Rivera and [Senior Vice President of Football Administration] Rob Rogers in the Washington organization for giving me this opportunity. Now it's my job to go out there and prove them right.”