It would not be an NFL offseason without the New England Patriots making at least one noteworthy transaction. Be it a surprise cut or a trade, Bill Belichick’s team never ceases to surprise. Yesterday, the team has done just that when it traded for Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen.
What does acquiring the 27-year old mean for the Patriots? Let’s take a look.
Martellus Bennett will not return
Last offseason, New England also acquired a tight end via trade: the Chicago Bears’ Martellus Bennett. With Bennett having only one season left on his contract at the time of the trade, he was set to become an untestricted free agent this offseason. While there was a possibility that the 30-year old would return, recent reports about his asking price lowered the chances of that happening. After trading for Allen it becomes clear that Bennett will not be back – and he already posted his farewell note.
New England has found a versatile backup for Rob Gronkowski...
Gronkowski is the most complete tight end in the NFL, an elite pass catcher and blocker. Bennett, while not as good as Gronkowski, is a player of a similar mold – and Dwayne Allen is as well. While nobody will confuse him with the Patriots’ top tight end, the 6’3, 255 lbs Allen has proven to be a solid route runner, displayed strong hands and has been an above-average blocker for the Colts. In short: He should be more than just a backup option in New England.
...at a relatively modest price
Last year, the Colts signed Allen to a four-year, $29.3 million contract. New England will be on the hook for the remaining $17.4 million of the deal over the course of the next three seasons; with $4.5 million in guarantees. Compared to other tight end contracts recently signed and to what Bennett is expected to make (around $9.0 million per year), the financial aspect of trading for Allen does therefore look reasonable from the Patriots’ perspective. Especially considering what the team has to give up:
Patriots move down two draft rounds to acquire Allen
As reported by Adam Schefter, New England traded a fourth round pick in this year’s draft to the Colts in exchange for Allen’s services as well as Indianapolis’ sixth round selection. The parameters of the deal are therefore the same as the Patriots’ with the Chicago Bears for Martellus Bennett last offseason. It also means that New England will move down 63 slots – from 137 to 200 – in order to acquire Allen, or the equivalent of a late fifth round pick.
The tight end position might still not be set
After the trade becomes official later today, the Patriots will have four tight ends on their roster: Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, who are both locks to make the team, as well as depth options Matt Lengel and Rob Housler. While the Patriots played the latter portions of the 2017 season with only two tight ends on their 53-man roster, look for the team to add additional bodies – either via free agency (by re-signing Michael Williams, for example) or the draft.
Overall, trading for Dwayne Allen looks like a solid move for the Patriots. Even though it means that Martellus Bennett’s short tenure in New England will come to a close after only one year, the team has found a talented albeit not as experienced replacement option. Considering what it had to give up, though, the Patriots should be happy with what they are getting.