Chuck Pagano knows Dwayne Allen wasn’t exactly traded to Siberia.
While speaking with reporters during the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday in Phoenix, the Indianapolis Colts head coach addressed the deal that sent his former tight end to the New England Patriots less than 24 hours before the start of unrestricted free agency.
“I think for both sides, both sides won,” Pagano said of acquiring a fourth-round pick from the Patriots in exchange for a sixth-rounder and Allen.
The swap marked the first between the two clubs since 1985.
“Again, grateful for what Dwayne did for the organization, what he did on the field, off the field, in the community,” added Pagano. “He’s a selfless guy. So, he gets an opportunity to go to a great organization obviously, play for a great head coach – Hall of Fame coach – play with a Hall of Fame quarterback.”
Allen appeared in 57 games for the Colts since arriving as a third-round selection in 2012. He caught 126 passes for 1,451 yards and 19 touchdowns during his tenure. Though only a year after signing four-year, $29.4 million contract extension – and only a day after the Colts reached three-year, $19 million extension with fellow tight end Jack Doyle – that tenure drew to a close.
Now, the 27-year-old Allen is set to begin a new one in Foxborough. Under head coach Bill Belichick and alongside the likes of four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and four-time first-team All-Pro Rob Gronkowski, it’s a fine arrangement.
“If you’re going to go somewhere, I can think of a lot worse places to go,” Pagano said. “Not like going to Siberia. I think both sides won. It’s a fresh start for Dwayne and things like that, so we’re happy for him.”
Allen caught a career-high 45 passes for 541 yards to go with three touchdowns during his rookie season in Indianapolis. Although since then, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Clemson product hasn’t posted a full campaign of work, missing a total of 23 games, with a hip injury taking all but one from him back in 2013.
Allen has still managed to find the end zone, however. He’s scored a touchdown in 33 percent of his contests.
Allen reeled in eight TDs on only 29 receptions in 2014, and after notching just one score in 2015, the inline option returned to collect another six on 35 total catches this past season.
There’s a window for him to add more in 2017.
With Martellus Bennett now a Green Bay Packer, the Patriots’ depth chart at tight end currently includes Allen, Gronkowski, exclusive-rights free agent Matt Lengel, restricted re-signing Michael Williams, and futures addition Rob Housler.
Only two of whom caught passes for New England this past regular season. Only two of whom played a down. Gronkowski was one. Lengel, who landed off the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad in November, was the other.
So, for Allen, it’s not a bad place to unexpectedly find himself. It could have been a situation far worse.
Or, perhaps even a destination far colder.