It looks like the Detroit Lions are getting a head start on their free agency search at the tight end position. On Monday, the New England Patriots announced that they had released veteran tight end Dwayne Allen, immediately making him a free agent. Seeing as he A) comes from the Patriots and B) is a tight end with a pulse, you knew the Lions were going to show interest.
And that, indeed, is the case, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson. According to Anderson, Allen will be meeting with the Lions after he finishes his visit with the Bills on Wednesday.
The Bills and the Lions aren’t the only teams reported to be interested in Allen. According to Pro Football Talk, Allen already has a total of four visits lined up, and the Patriots are among the teams hoping to sign him to a lower salary than what he had (New England saved $7.3 million by cutting him).
Allen is mostly an in-line blocker. In his past two seasons with the Patriots, Allen has played in 29 games (16 starts), but only amassed a total of 13 catches. At 6-foot-3, 265 pounds, Allen is clearly valued as a blocker, though he earned just a 51.0 Pro Football Focus grade in 2018.
Here’s what our friends at Pats Pulpit had to say about his release this week.
The Patriots could still bring back Allen, who is a capable blocker, but it would certainly be for less money than what he was slated to earn. New England was always going to try and upgrade the tight end position because Rob Gronkowski is at the end of his career, and now tight end is a greater need.
Given the Lions’ desperate need for a tight end—the only capable tight end on the roster is Michael Roberts, and the team is not expected to re-sign Luke Willson nor Levine Toilolo—it makes sense for Detroit to at least take a look at Allen. We’ll see if the Lions make a move on him prior to the start of the new league year.