Less than a month after it was reported the Miami Dolphins planned to release him this offseason, veteran cornerback Will Allen has agreed to restructure his contract and remain with the team.
Allen was slated to make $5.5 million in 2011 in the final year of a three-year, $16.2 million extension signed in the 2009 offseason. The deal also included $10 million in guaranteed money.
The 32-year-old Allen has missed the team's last 22 regular season games after initially suffering a torn ACL in Week 7 of the 2009 season against the New Orleans Saints.
Apparently unable to fully rehab in time for the 2010 season, the Dolphins surprisingly put the veteran cornerback on season-ending injured reserve just before the season on Sept. 5.
Originally drafted by the New York Giants in the first round in 2001, Allen signed a four-year deal with the Dolphins as a free agent in 2006. In 125 career games (124 starts), Allen has totaled 484 tackles, five sacks, seven forced fumbles, 15 interceptions, and 106 pass deflections.
Allen will once again be coached by Dolphins secondary coach Todd Bowles, who will not be leaving the team after the Arizona Cardinals hired Ray Horton as their defensive coordinator.
Quite simply, this is good news for the Dolphins and their fans, but bad news for 2010 nickel cornerback Benny Sapp.
Despite getting up there in years and having some concerning knee issues, Allen was a fantastic cover corner in past years for the Dolphins and is an excellent veteran to have around for depth.
While Allen isn't going to supplant the Dolphins' two up-and-coming players at the position in Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, he could be an outstanding nickel back while providing a nice mentor for the pair.
Such an arrangement would make Benny Sapp expendable, especially considering he is in the last year of his current deal and is slated to make $1.9 million in 2011, which is pretty steep for a fourth cornerback.
If Allen can prove he is healthy and can be counted on to play in 2011, the Dolphins will likely trade or release Sapp before the season and go with 2010 fifth-rounder Nolan Carroll as their fourth cornerback.
For a secondary that ranked eighth in the NFL against the pass in 2010, the re-addition of Allen coupled with the continued development of Davis and Smith can only mean good things in 2011.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and currently works for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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