According to Schefter, the Patriots sent a fourth-round draft pick to the Colts and received a sixth-rounder in addition to Allen.
The veteran tight end provided a statement on Twitter:
Former Colts linebacker Robert Mathis was surprised to see Indianapolis trading with an AFC rival:
Allen caught 35 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games for the Colts last year.
The trade likely means New England will opt against re-signing Martellus Bennett this offseason.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke applauded the Patriots' aggression:
Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman also praised New England's constant gamesmanship:
Opting for Allen over Bennett could result in relatively significant savings for New England.
According to Spotrac, Allen is signed for three more years and carries an average cap hit of roughly $5.8 million a year. Spotrac estimates Bennett's market value to be $6 million annually, but Rapoport reported in December he turned down $7 million a year before the start of the 2016 season.
Allen doesn't have the receiving pedigree of Bennett. In 57 career games, he has caught 126 passes for 1,451 yards and 19 touchdowns. Bennett, meanwhile, has 403 career receptions for 4,287 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Allen is considered a better blocker, though, which Patriots head coach Bill Belichick noted in the past, per ESPN.com's Mike Reiss:
NFL Research showed how Allen is a consistent option inside the red zone as well:
Assuming Rob Gronkowski can stay healthy, Allen would be a great foil in the Patriots offense. Should Gronkowski miss time, though, it's doubtful Allen would be able to replicate Bennett's production from the 2016 campaign.
Still, the Patriots were proactive in finding Bennett's replacement, and trading for Allen now allows the team to avoid being left without a backup plan at tight end if Bennett walked in free agency.