Tight end Dwayne Allen had an exceptional rookie year with the Indianapolis Colts but saw his overall role as a pass-catcher decline thereafter. The two sides have nevertheless concluded it is mutually beneficial for their partnership to continue in the midst of free agency.
Pro Football Talk reported Monday Allen agreed to a four-year, $29.4 million deal to stick with Indianapolis, who originally acquired him in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft. Pro Football Talk noted $12 million will be paid out in the first year, and $17 million will be paid out through the first two years.
The Colts would tweet out a photo of Allen signing his new contract:
It's official! 83 is here to stay. pic.twitter.com/IC8ZHBAPWV— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) March 8, 2016
Josina Anderson passed along a quote from Allen: "I knew this was home and with their offer they confirmed that to me."
Allen took to Twitter after the news:
Allen had 45 receptions, 521 yards and three touchdowns during his maiden pro campaign but unfortunately missed all but one game in 2013 because of a hip injury. Although he had eight TDs in 2014, Allen's receptions dropped to 29 from his rookie season.
The 26-year-old didn't exactly light it up during his contract year, posting just 16 catches for 109 yards and one score in 13 contests.
Since he is a stellar blocker and the Colts already had Coby Fleener as a receiving threat at his position, Allen didn't have as much room to contribute. The injury to Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck also didn't help.
His high TD total in 2014 is one factor that had to weigh heavily when Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson was evaluating the team's free-agent slate. The established chemistry between Luck and Allen and the latter's upside as a red-zone target suggest Allen can be a big contributor in the future.
The Colts' deal with Allen could prove to be one of the better values on the open market among all players available. Allen has flashed well when healthy and given a shot at a prominent role, and he may not have to worry about Fleener overshadowing him. Fleener will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, per Spotrac, and Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star recently said, "They can’t afford to keep both."
Following Allen's final college season at Clemson, he was the recipient of the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end. He has that type of potential to be elite in the NFL as well but hasn't gotten a legitimate chance to show it.
So while Indianapolis fans may not be over the moon about Allen staying because of his prior backup status, they should be grateful for him as a nice contingency option should Fleener sign elsewhere.