The Colts will have a number of decisions to make regarding free agents this offseason, as notable players such as Jerrell Freeman, Adam Vinatieri, Matt Hasselbeck, Coby Fleener, and Dwayne Allen all have their contracts expiring. We've heard from a couple of them that they want to return to Indianapolis next year, and today Allen joined them.
Appearing on the radio with FOX975's Jake Query and Derek Schultz, Allen said that he wants to be back and hopes to have it worked out before he even hits free agency.
Dwayne Allen on FA: "I plan on being back. I hope everything is wrapped up before the period even starts. I found my home and hope to stay."— Derek Schultz (@Schultz975) January 11, 2016
More Allen: "I love the organization. I didn't have the production I wanted this year, but it was a rough season for everyone."— Derek Schultz (@Schultz975) January 11, 2016
It was an incredibly rough season for Allen, as he played in 13 games (missing three due to injury) and caught just 16 passes (on 29 targets) for 109 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.8 yards per reception. It was the most miserable season of Allen's career when it comes to receiving, as most of the time he was kept in as a blocker, essentially becoming an extra offensive lineman. He had an up and down season when it came to that area, but overall he was very much underutilized and didn't have much of an impact on the offense. Through four years with the Colts, however, Allen has been a dangerous weapon as an all-around tight end when he has stayed on the field (and been utilized). He has caught 91 passes for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 11.5 yards per catch.
Allen saying that he wants to return and expressing his appreciation for the organization is certainly a positive sign, as he was very frustrated this year and many wondered whether he'd even want to come back to a team that didn't use him much or correctly last season. So at least from that perspective, the comments are a sign that he hopes to remain a Colt. On the flip side, however, is this reality: just because Allen wants to come back doesn't mean that the Colts will bring him back. They have decisions to make about other players (and another tight end in Coby Fleener) and Allen does have downsides - such as some trouble staying healthy and his rough 2015 season. A lot of the emphasis (or lack thereof) could come from where the Colts want to go with their offense under Rob Chudzinski (a notable and respected tight ends coach), as if the Colts want to focus on the tight ends more, Allen could become more of a priority. Ultimately, however, it's unknown just how much the Colts will be willing to pay to keep Dwayne Allen around, but if he's serious about wanting to return, that could perhaps give more reason for optimism that the two sides will be able to agree on a fair price.