This is a big season for the Indianapolis Colts’ tight end Dwayne Allen. Due to one offseason move, Allen could hit or even eclipse his career-highs in 2016.
Entering the 2016 offseason, the Colts had to decide if they wanted to keep Allen or Coby Fleener. The Colts quickly decided to keep Allen and agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with him.
This move may have shocked some people because Fleener was the more productive tight end last season. In 2015, Fleener had 54 receptions, 491 receiving yards and three touchdowns whileAllen only had 16 receptions, 109 receiving yards and one touchdown.
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At the same time, Allen was used more as a blocking tight end. He sometimes lined up in the backfield as a fullback to protect the Colts’ quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck. In the end, the Colts valued Allen’s versatile skill set over Fleener’s receiving abilities.
There are legitimate durability concerns with Allen. He has missed 21 games in the past three seasons due to injuries. With Fleener gone, it is imperative for Allen to find a way to keep himself health.
Allen’s health will be a major talking point throughout training camp and will be constantly watched during the regular season. Hopefully, Allen stays healthy because he has the opportunity to put up career-high numbers.
Allen set his season career-highs of 45 receptions and 521 receiving yards in 2012. Meanwhile, he recorded eight receiving touchdown, his career-high, in 2014.
These career-highs were set in seasons where he was most healthy. He started in all 16 games in 2012 and started in 13 games in 2014. Allen usually has his best seasons when he stays injury-free.
Also, Allen has a chance to break his career-highs in 2016 because his role in the offense will expand. Allen is the Colts’ top tight end heading into the 2016 season.
He should not be sharing a lot of playing time with anyone else because the Colts do not have another tight end as good as him. As a result, Allen should receive a significant amount of pass-catching opportunities.
The increase in opportunities should allow him to post numbers close to or even greater than his career-highs in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns.
The 2016 regular season could be a big one for Dwayne Allen. He is not competing for playing time, and the Colts need him to be a crucial part of their offense. It will be interesting to see if he stays healthy and capitalizes on his huge opportunity.