ESPN lists TE Dwayne Allen as a sleeper free agent
The Indianapolis Colts have a number of players heading to free agency, but none is more talented than tight end Dwayne Allen.
The Colts could quickly find themselves looking for a new premiere tight end this offseason. That’s because the starting duo of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener are both set to be free agents. Both were part of the 2012 draft class that was designed to set up the Indy offense for years to come.
It remains to be seen what the Colts decided to do with either player, but it is clear that they’ll need to re-sign at least one of them. The problem is that Andrew Luck‘s upcoming contract is likely going to make bringing both tight ends back difficult. And that isn’t the only reason as both saw their usage drop off a cliff in 2015.
Allen recorded eight touchdowns and 29 receptions in 13 games back in 2014. He saw those numbers drop to 16 receptions and just one touchdown in 2015 while playing 12 games. You can easily point to the quarterbacking issues, but at the same time the Colts seemed to forget how to properly use either tight end. This problem extended to both Pep Hamilton and Rob Chudzinski, who decided to keep Allen in to block more often, forgetting just how dynamic he can be as a pass catcher.
While Allen has said that he’d like to stay in Indianapolis, it is also clear that he wasn’t happy with his role on the team last year. Speaking with Zak Keefer at the IndyStar, Allen wasn’t exactly happy with his usage.
"Asked after the season if he knew how little he was targeted in the passing gam, Allen shook his head. The answer? Just 29 throws. All season.“Targeted (29) times? Wow, that many?” he said with a sarcastic smile. “I didn’t know it was (29). They count some throwaways, though, if I was in the vicinity.”"
That is nearly half the number of targets he received the year prior. Allen seems like the kind of player who could leave and immediately have a Pro Bowl season in the right system. As we inch closer to free agency Allen’s name is being floated as a potential target by other teams.
Today, ESPN’s Sam Monson has put together his list of 10 sleeper free agents about to hit the market. Allen makes the list and Monson nails the brief analysis.
"In 2012, thanks largely to his work as a run-blocker, Allen was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded tight end — as a rookie. That’s above Rob Gronkowski. Even adjusting that to value receiving more, Allen was a top-10 tight end, but injuries have robbed us of the player he was becoming. That season, Allen caught 45 passes, but he has caught just 57 since. Allen is only about to turn 26 and will likely be far from most teams’ top priority, but his ceiling is still incredibly high."
We’ve seen just how productive Allen can be and how much devastation a good tight end can wreck on opposing defenses. Part of the issues for Allen has been health. He missed all of 2013 with a hip injury and suffered a high ankle sprain in 2014. He finished 2015 on IR with a calf injury and missed four games.
No one seems to be all that optimistic about Allen returning to the Colts. He’s said publicly that he’s found his home here and wants to work out a contract but is also unhappy with his role on the team.
Unless the Colts can work out a favorable deal with Allen and promise him a scheme that fully uses his talents, it is doubtful he returns to Indianapolis in 2016.