With free agency beginning Wednesday, the Indianapolis Colts did themselves a favor by locking up tight end Dwayne Allen to a four-year contract extension on Monday. By re-signing Allen before most teams could start talking to him, the Colts avoided a heated bidding war for his services. Allen’s contract extension addresses the team’s tight end concerns, and now, the Colts can use free agency to focus on other position needs.
Allen’s new deal is worth $29 million with $11.5 million guaranteed. The extension ties Allen with Vernon Davis as the 10th-highest paid tight end in the NFL based on annual salary. Although this is a fair deal for both sides, this extension is a bit surprising because Allen did not have a good season in 2015.
Allen only caught 16 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown in 2015. For this reason, people may find it difficult to justify this large of a deal. However, it should be noted that Allen’s production was seriously affected by the Colts’ struggles at other position groups. Remember, Andrew Luck missed nine games this season due to injury, and none of his replacements were looking at Allen as a receiving option. Also, Allen was used as a pass blocker more often than as a receiver because the team’s offensive line was so putrid throughout the season.
It is a bit shocking that Allen was the first Colts player to be re-signed this offseason. Many people thought the Colts would focus on free agents like Jerrell Freeman or Adam Vinatieri first. Also, the speculation was Allen wanted out of Indianapolis because he was not properly used in 2015. Fortunately for the Colts, Allen made it clear during the offseason that Indianapolis felt like home for him.
Allen’s new deal now puts a spotlight on tight end Coby Fleener, who is also an unrestricted free agent this offseason. To this point, the Colts and Fleener have reportedly made “no real progress” in contract negotiations. With the team reaching an agreement with Allen first, there is growing speculation that the Colts are going to move on from Fleener.
In a perfect world, the Colts would like to retain both Fleener and Allen, but they made a smart move by at least re-signing the latter. Allen obviously needs to be more productive next season, and the Colts are very confident he will be. The Colts need a strong 2016 offseason, and re-signing Allen definitely gets them off to a great start.