The Miami Dolphins are expected to release 10-year veteran cornerback Will Allen when teams are allowed to do so in February, according to Omar Kelly.
Allen spent all of the 2010 season on injured reserve following what the Dolphins said was a slow recovery from a knee scope. He had missed 10 games the previous season after suffering a torn ACL.
Originally drafted in the first round by the New York Giants out of Syracuse in 2001, Allen signed a four-year, $12 million contract with the Dolphins in March 2005 as one of Nick Saban's first free-agency pickups.
Despite pulling in only two interceptions over his first two seasons in Miami, Allen quickly established himself as one of the most productive shutdown corners in the NFL.
In 2008, Allen started all 16 games for the Dolphins and recorded 50 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, 15 pass deflections, and three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
After missing only one game out of his first 54 with the Dolphins, Allen suffered a torn ACL in Week 6 of the 2009 season in a game against the New Orleans Saints.
Allen, who signed a $16.2 million extension through 2011 in the 2009 offseason, landed on injured reserve again on September 5 just before the 2010 season.
Despite his absence, the Dolphins' pass defense increased from 24th in the NFL in 2009 to eighth in 2010, thanks to the arrival of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Todd Bowles' development of second-year corners Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.
With the Dolphins' starting corners locked in for 2011, nickel back Benny Sapp expected to return, and 2010 fifth-rounder Nolan Carroll, the writing is on the wall for Allen, who is slated to make $5.5 million in the last year of his contract this coming season.
Meanwhile Allen, who will be 33 when the 2011 season begins, will probably have to settle for a one- or two-year deal and has likely seen his last big pay day. He is a talented cover corner, but has never been a turnover machine and it's unknown if his body is going to keep up given his recent injuries.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.