3 reasons why the Arizona Cardinals let Zach Allen walk in free agency

Sep 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (94) celebrates
Sep 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (94) celebrates / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

To the dismay of many in the Red Sea, Zach Allen spurned the Arizona Cardinals for Sean Payton and the Denver Broncos.

Losing Zach Allen hurt, given his growth over his four seasons in the desert. However, when you dig deep, the Arizona Cardinals may have let Zach Allen walk in free agency without much effort to keep him around. 

But before we dive deep into the potential reasoning behind it, it’s also important to realize that Allen was never a great player who the Cardinals could easily replace, much like Byron Murphy Jr. Laugh all you want, but if the Cards truly thought they had a valuable player in Allen, they would have at least tried harder to re-sign him. 

So why didn’t Allen carry the type of value many thought he had for the Cardinals? And why did Big Red let him sign with Vance Joseph and Sean Payton in Denver of all places? Here are three reasons. 

Why did the Arizona Cardinals let Zach Allen walk?

1 - He was injury-prone

Zach Allen never played a full slate of games in any season, and that should have been a major red flag for Arizona Cardinals fans. He only played in 45 of a possible 66 regular season contests, and he started just 35 of those games. 

Per SpotTrac, Allen signed a 3 year deal worth $45.75 million. Do the math, and that’s a hefty sum for a guy who struggled with injuries throughout his career. 

2 - He may not fit the new system

Ever wonder why some players thrive in one place, then collapse in another? Or perhaps they didn’t start their NFL career too hot before they excelled somewhere else?

One major reason is that some players perform well in specific systems. That could have been the case with Allen in the desert, given his uptick in production in 2021 and 2022. 

If head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort didn’t feel Allen would fit the new system, there was no sense in trying to keep him around. In hindsight, that could be the case, and if so, it was a good call. 

3 - He was a one-year wonder 

Okay, so Allen saw some solid production in 2021 when he posted 48 tackles, five behind the line, and 14 quarterback hits. He also had four sacks. 

But that production blossomed in 2022, with 20 quarterback hits, 5.5 sacks, and 10 tackles for loss. When you look at these numbers, it’s clear that Allen had only one great season in the desert, making him for all intents, a one-year wonder. 

A good player? Absolutely. One worthy of what Denver brought him in for? Nah, he’s better off with Vance Joseph in the Rockies. 

Related. Cardinals fans shouldn’t fret over losing Byron Murphy Jr.. dark

(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)