Veteran tight end Dwayne Allen was notified of his release from the New England Patriots as the team gained $7.3 million in cap relief.
According to ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the New England Patriots notified veteran tight end Dwayne Allen on Saturday that they plan to release him in advance of NFL free agency. The move is expected to save the team $7.3 million in salary cap relief.
It also doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as Allen’s production on the field never quite lived up to expectations. In two seasons with the Patriots, Allen finished with just 13 total receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown. In fairness, he was reportedly an excellent locker-room presence and teammate, and did make some decent contributions as a blocking tight end when he found playing time.
Still, when the Patriots traded a fourth-round draft pick for a sixth-round draft pick and Allen two years ago, they envisioned the former Colt doing a lot more for the team than just helping open up holes in the run game.
Across five seasons with Indianapolis, Allen averaged 25 catches, 290 receiving yards, and 3.8 touchdowns per year – all significantly higher marks than his New England averages of 6.5 catches, 56 receiving yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per year.
While it could be tempting to point to Rob Gronkowski’s presence as one of the major reason’s for Allen’s dip in effectiveness, but that reasoning doesn’t hold water when examined more closely.
Aside from Gronk missing games due to injuries in both 2017 and 2018, the superstar tight end clearly wasn’t himself for most of last season, even when he was healthy enough to play. Presumably, if ever there was a time for Allen to step up and shoulder more of the receiving load, it would have been this past season when the team had a severe lack of options in the passing game.
It’s also worth noting that Allen shared the spotlight with Coby Fleener while playing with the Colts. The two tight ends often cannibalized each other’s minutes on the field in Indianapolis, and yet both found ways to make the most of their chances and subsequently earned opportunities with other teams (Allen with the Patriots and Fleener with the New Orleans Saints).
There is still a chance that Allen returns to the Patriots on a more team-friendly deal with a reduced base salary, but that could also depend on whether or not Gronkowski decides to retire this offseason, and whether Allen can find a more lucrative contract elsewhere as a free agent.