The New England Patriots have made a trade for Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots traded a fourth-round pick for Allen and a sixth-rounder.
The trade became official on Thursday at the start of the new league year.
The Colts just recently re-signed tight end Jack Doyle, who was their second-leading receiver and Andrew Luck’s second-favorite target behind wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Allen improved from 2015 to 2016, but increasingly lost targets to Doyle.
The trade makes the likelihood that the Patriots re-sign tight end Martellus Bennett appear as slim as ever. Bennett reportedly wanted $9 million per year moving forward, and with Rob Gronkowski’s massive contract, that seems nearly impossible.
The move was clearly financial for the Patriots:
The Patriots owe Dwayne Allen $5 million in cash in 2017, $5M in 2018 and $7.4M in 2019. Really smart move by Belichick here.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 8, 2017
Allen thanked the Irsay family and teammates for his time in Indianapolis:
Now, the Patriots appear to have done what they typically do: move one piece, and add another in its place. There’s no telling how good Allen will be in New England, but we’ve seen over the years how Tom Brady is able to make players better.
For his career, Allen has 126 catches for 1,451 yards and 19 touchdowns. He just turned 27 years old, and could fit nicely next to Gronkowski.