TAMPA — The Bucs might be considering trading at least their first-round pick in next weekend's draft — and possibly a player — to the Chiefs for 2007 sack leader Jared Allen.
Kansas City's franchise player said Thursday that he thinks a deal with the Bucs or Vikings could get done before the April 26 draft.
Allen, 26, led the NFL with 15½ sacks last year. He has forced 13 fumbles in the past three seasons. He will be in Minnesota today and is tentatively scheduled to meet with the Bucs early next week.
The Chiefs designated Allen as their franchise player Feb. 19. It guarantees that Allen is paid $8.88-million in 2008, the average salary of the five highest-paid defensive ends. The Chiefs have the right to match any offer and would receive two first-round draft picks if he were signed by another team.
Apparently, the Chiefs might be willing to part with Allen for a first-round selection and other draft picks.
Tampa Bay, which owns just five draft picks, appears willing to give Kansas City the No. 20 overall choice. But it remains to be seen whether the Bucs can package that with enough picks or a player to complete the deal.
The Bucs have some recent history of doing business with the Chiefs, trading for defensive tackle Ryan Sims and running back Michael Bennett in the past year. Bennett, a close friend of Allen's, said he was hopeful a deal could be struck for a player he considers one of the league's most dominant.
"He's got such a motor," Bennett said. "He reminds me of (Bucs defensive tackle) Chris Hovan, the way he feeds off the crowd.
"When I heard about it, my immediate reaction was just, 'Wow.' If we get him, it would be a tremendous addition. We could do serious damage. He's going to require a double team because he was just beating the snot out of people last year. … There's nobody in the draft you can get who is better than him."
One report indicated the Bucs might be willing to also part with a fifth-round pick in 2009 and defensive tackle Jovan Haye, a restricted free agent who has not signed his one-year, $2-million tender. Today is Haye's deadline to negotiate with other teams.
The Vikings have the No. 17 selection in the draft but might be willing to deal first- and second-round picks in 2009.
"We will confirm that we have been in conversation with a few teams regarding the possibility of acquiring Jared Allen's contractual rights," Chiefs president Carl Peterson said in a statement. "Any potential agreement would be contingent on the Chiefs receiving appropriate compensation and Jared's representative reaching a contract agreement.
"Jared is not an exclusive franchise player. Therefore, based on the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, he has the right to visit and negotiate with other teams. … At this point, all of these discussions are preliminary."
Allen told FoxSports.com: "It's a situation that works out best for both sides. I can go to a team that is competing for a championship right now. The Chiefs can get valuable draft picks to rebuild with."
Once a team acquires his rights, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Allen is likely to demand the same six-year, $72-million package paid by the Colts last year to defensive end Dwight Freeney. The deal included $30-million in guaranteed money.
Allen, entering his fifth season out of Idaho State, brings some off-field baggage. He was suspended two games last season for substance abuse violations, including two DUI arrests. He returned to start 14 games, finished with 64 tackles, made his first Pro Bowl and, according to Bennett, has grown.
"He's gotten over that, I think," Bennett said.
"Everybody makes mistakes. We've all been there. We learn from our mistakes, and I think he's matured."
Haye, who had a productive 2007 season with six sacks, said he was unaware of any attempts to trade him.
"I don't know anything about it," Haye said. "People called me and told me, but I don't know anything more than that."
The Bucs have wanted to upgrade their pass rush and took a step in that direction last year by making defensive end Gaines Adams their No. 1 pick.
The Bucs declined comment on trade talks for Allen.