Rob Gronkowski is, by most accounts, the NFL’s best tight end.
However, dating back to the days of Aaron Hernandez in New England, Bill Belichick’s offense has featured a number of complementary pass-catching tight ends over the years.
Since the Patriots are keen on employing two tight end sets and varying their personnel constantly, possessing two viable route-running tight ends is a luxury for them in Tom Brady’s efficient offensive attack.
Last season, the Pats made a preseason deal with the Chicago Bears and were able to land Martellus Bennett, who caught 55 passes for 701 yards and a touchdown in the regular season and added 11 receptions for 98 yards in the playoffs for New England.
Bennett was thrust into the No. 1 role on the depth chart when Gronk went down with a season-ending injury and did an adequate job at filling the massive void.
Despite the limited success, the Patriots have informed Bennett that he will not be re-signed and he tweeted out his goodbye and thanks to the team’s loyal fans.
But, as always, New England had a plan in mind and agreed to trade a fourth-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts for Dwayne Allen and a sixth-round pick.
"I want to give my sincerest thanks to the Irsay family for taking a chance on a kid from Fayetteville, NC," Allen said in a Twitter statement. "It's been an honor wearing the horseshoe and representing the Colts on and off the field. My teammates will always be my brothers, and the friends that I've made are for life.”
He went on, ”I'm both humbled and excited for the challenge ahead of earning the right to be called a New England Patriot. May God continue to bless the city of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Colts.”
Allen caught 35 passes for 406 yards with six touchdowns through 14 games with Indianapolis in 2016. While he proved to be a productive pass-catcher for Andrew Luck over the course of his career, Bill Belichick has been on the record stating that he was most impressed with Allen’s blocking ability.
According to ESPN, 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.”
As an athletic, strong tight end with some agility, he could be a natural fit within the short-passing New England system that features many types of screens for both running backs and wideouts.
Allen re-signed with the Colts last offseason with a four-year, $29 million deal.
It remains to be seen how the Patriots will utilize him in their offense, but if history means anything, they will make it work out well.
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