The Indianapolis Colts have agreed to trade tight end Dwayne Allen to the New England Patriots, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Colts agreed to send Allen and a sixth-round pick to New England for a Patriots fourth-round pick, per league sources.
The addition of Allen makes it likely that the Patriots will not re-sign tight end Martellus Bennett, who is an unrestricted free agent.
Allen tweeted thanks to the Colts and their fans and said he looked forward to playing for the Patriots.
Before a 2014 game between the Patriots and Colts, coach Bill Belichick had high praise for Allen, saying, “I’ve been really impressed with Allen’s blocking. I think he’s one of the best blocking tight ends we’ll see.”
Allen re-signed with the Colts last offseason with a four-year, $29 million contract. He finished with 35 receptions for 406 yards and six touchdowns while playing in 14 games in 2016.
Allen was part of the Colts’ 2012 draft class that also featured Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener. Former general manager Ryan Grigson chose to re-sign Allen over Fleener in 2016 because he felt Allen was the better all-around tight end. Allen, however, never reached his potential in Indianapolis because of consistent injury problems. He has missed 23 games over the past four seasons.
The Colts re-signed tight end Jack Doyle on Tuesday. A source told ESPN’s Adam Caplan that the deal is for three years and $19 million, with $9.5 million guaranteed. The deal can max out at $21 million with incentives.
Doyle, 26, made a smooth transition from being known as a blue-collar tight end and third on the Colts’ depth chart to an all-around player who was arguably their best tight end last season.
He had career highs in receptions (59), yards (584) and touchdowns (five) last season. His 584 receiving yards and 75 targets were second on the team behind Hilton’s 1,448 receiving yards and 156 targets.
Bennett was acquired by the Patriots in a trade from the Bears last March. The sides had discussed extending the contract through 2017 at the time of the trade but couldn’t come to an agreement.
That set Bennett up to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and he is widely viewed as the top tight end available.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Bennett totaled 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns in the 2016 regular season, playing in all 16 games. He earned the respect of many of his teammates by playing through an ankle injury initially suffered on Oct. 9.
A supersized personality, Bennett was acquired with the hope of forming the NFL’s most lethal 1-2 tight end combination alongside Rob Gronkowski. But that never truly materialized because Gronkowski was limited to just eight games because of hamstring and back injuries.
That thrust Bennett into a more consistent role as the team’s No. 1 option at the position.