The Colts had two tight ends poised to become free agents. They now have one. But the one who re-signed isn’t the one anyone expected to re-sign.
Per a league source, the Colts and tight end Dwayne Allen have worked out a four-year, $29.4 million deal. He’ll get $12 million in year one, $17 million total through two years, and $22 million through three years. The includes $16 million guaranteed; it’s unclear how much is fully guaranteed at signing.
Related players: Coby Fleener
This is a surprise since the Colts were rumored to be set on re-signing Coby Fleener, not Allen. If Fleener moves on, Allen will be a sleeper provided he's the primary receiving tight end in Indianapolis. He has only averaged 3.4 targets per game in 43 career games, but if Fleener is out of the way, that number may double.
If the Colts have to choose between their two young promising tight ends – Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen – Fleener appears the better fit, at least based on how the two have been used in recent seasons. Don’t expect Fleener to end up anywhere but Indianapolis in free agency.
If the Colts do re-sign Fleener while letting Allen walk, Fleener will be one of our favorite sleepers heading into the 2016 season. In the 22 games that Fleener has played over the last three seasons with Allen sidelined, he has averaged 4.1 catches for 54 yards and 0.45 TD. Those averages would have been good enough to finish 7th in standard scoring and 6th in PPR at his position. When only looking at seven such games in the last two seasons, Fleener has averaged 5.4 catches for 82 yards and 0.86 TD. It doesn't hurt that he hasn't missed a game in the last three years, either. We'll be keeping a close eye on the Colts' tight end situation this offseason.
Friday, January 1, 2016, 6:26pm
Hilton is dealing with a foot sprain that reportedly required an MRI earlier in the week. Complicating matters, the matchup against the Broncos is brutal. Denver is #1 in WR aFPA, so even if Hilton suits up, he's not a great start. If Hilton sits, Donte Moncrief, Andre Johnson and Griff Whalen would pick up his snaps and targets, but new OC Rob Chudzinski may also elect to get the Colts' tight ends more involved.
LB Jerrell Freeman (groin), RB Tyler Varga (concussion), LB Bjoern Werner (hamstring)
S Lonnie Ballentine (knee), LB Whitney Mercilus (thigh), RB Chris Polk (knee)
T Duane Brown (hand), LB Max Bullough (shoulder), LB Jadeveon Clowney (shoulder, knee), LB Brian Cushing (foot), RB Arian Foster (groin), CB Johnathan Joseph (hip), QB Ryan Mallett (chest), T Derek Newton (ankle), S Eddie Pleasant (thigh), G Xavier Su'a-Filo (calf), DT Vince Wilfork (ankle)
Luck is listed as questionable, so owners should pay attention as inactives are announced leading up to game time on Thursday. Gore and Allen are both probable, so they're virtually certain to play. Allen's return puts a big dent in Coby Fleener's upside. For the Texans, Foster is probable, so he should see an increased workload. With both Shorts and Washington out, the Texans are short at receiver. Look for DeAndre Hopkins to dominate targets again.
Friday, October 2, 2015, 6:45pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is questionable for Week 4. Allen is practicing but told beat writer Steve Andress that the ankle is “still not quite there.” If Allen remains out, Coby Fleener is a Sneaky Start, though that will have a lot to do with Andrew Luck’s status as well. In 21 games over four seasons where Fleener has played and Allen has not, Fleener has averaged 3.8 catches for 52 yards and 0.38 TD. He posted four catches for 51 yards on six targets in Week 3. The Jaguars are showing well in early aFPA to the tight end position, though Fleener has found the endzone twice in his last four games against Jacksonville.
Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7:11pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. If Allen remains out, Coby Fleener is a Sneaky Start. In 21 games over four seasons where Fleener has played and Allen has not, Fleener has averaged 3.8 catches for 52 yards and 0.38 TD. He posted four catches for 51 yards on six targets in Week 3. The Jaguars are showing well in early aFPA to the tight end position, though Fleener has found the endzone twice in his last four games against Jacksonville.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 6:25pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. As long as Allen remains out, Coby Fleener is a Sneaky Start. In 21 games over four seasons where Fleener has played and Allen has not, Fleener has averaged 3.8 catches for 52 yards and 0.38 TD. He posted four catches for 51 yards on six targets in Week 3. The Jaguars are showing well in early aFPA to the tight end position, though Fleener has found the endzone twice in his last four games against Jacksonville.
Friday, September 25, 2015, 7:02pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 3. Coby Fleener has averaged 3.8 receptions for 52 yards and 0.40 TD in the 20 games that Dwayne Allen has missed. The Colts have only targeted their tight ends on 8.3% of their pass attempts this season, which is down from 25.3% last year. Both HC Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck said this week that they want to get their tight ends more involved, so we’re cautiously optimistic about Fleener as a Sneaky Start.
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 6:16pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) missed practice again Thursday. Allen was unable to finish the game against the Jets, so he may have a tough time returning to play in Week 3. If he’s out, Coby Fleener theoretically gets a bump, but he wasn’t able to take advantage of extra playing time against the Jets. For what it’s worth, the Colts said this week that they need to get their tight ends more involved.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 6:12pm
Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. Allen was unable to finish the game against the Jets, so he may have a tough time returning to play in Week 3. If he’s out, Coby Fleener theoretically gets a bump, but he wasn’t able to take advantage of extra playing time against the Jets.
He’s not the new wide receiver who many call the best player in Houston Texans franchise history. He’s not the dynamic weapon fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance. He’s not the first-round draft pick with speed that rivals some of the NFL’s fastest players.
As a 21-year old rookie last season, Moncrief forced his way into the lineup and gave Colts coaches enough of a look to feel just fine in increasing expectations for No. 10.
“Moncrief has big play ability and we saw him do that,” Chuck Pagano said back at the League Meetings in March. “He’s going to have more opportunities going forward.
“He’s got such a high ceiling and room for improvement. The sky’s the limit for him.”
There's no question Moncrief has talent, but rookie Phillip Dorsett is getting a lot of press so far this offseason and he could battle Moncrief for the WR3 spot - assuming T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson are the top two. In a news article from earlier this month, we thought it was possible Johnson, Moncrief, Dorsett and TEs Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener rotate through the other three positions in one running back sets.
When Colts QB Andrew Luck worked out of a three-receiver formation during Wednesday evening’s work at Lucas Oil Stadium, it primarily was T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief. But rookie Phillip Dorsett is going to cut into somebody’s playing time this season. That might be Moncrief. And it might be either Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen as Hamilton uses more three-wide alignments than two-tight end formations.
The Colts are loaded with talent, but they can't play everyone all the time. We would expect T.Y. Hilton to play a ton, but Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Dorsett and the two tight ends, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, could rotate through the other three positions in typical one-running back sets.
But the Colts didn't spend a first-round pick on Phillip Dorsett for him to sit on the bench. If he proves ready for playing time, it's likely going to come quickly. And that will have a considerable impact on certain players' snap counts and their number of targets.
Hilton's snaps figure to be safe, but if the Colts bring Dorsett along quickly, the playing time of both Johnson and Moncrief will be affected. If he plays big snaps, it could have a ripple effect on Fleener and/or Allen, assuming Hamilton calls fewer two-TE sets to get his receivers on the field. The pick is certainly a boost for QB Andrew Luck, but it's hard to see how it helps any of the other Colts receivers.
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