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Dwayne Allen makes sense as Heath Miller replacement for Steelers

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If the Colts let him walk, Dwayne Allen makes a lot of sense for the Steelers as a replacement for Heath Miller.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, Heath Miller announced his retirement from the Pittsburgh Steelers after eleven seasons.

He was a very reliable player for quite a while with Pittsburgh.  During his career, the tight end played in 168 games and recorded 592 receptions (sixth all-time among tight ends), 6,569 yards (one of 12 tight ends to top 6,000 yards receiving) and 45 touchdowns, averaging 11.1 yards per catch.  He was a two-time Pro Bowler and a part of three AFC Champion teams and won two Super Bowl titles.  He was always a reliable weapon and fit what the Steelers were looking for from a tight end - being a well-rounded player capable of helping in a number of areas.

Someone like Jesse James could take on a bigger role with the Steelers now, but it's also entirely possible that the team could add help at the position through the draft or free agency.  If they choose to go that route, Colts tight end Dwayne Allen seems like an ideal fit in Pittsburgh.

Allen is a complete tight end who can help as a blocker and as a receiver.  During his four years with the Colts, Allen has played in 43 games and has caught 91 passes for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns (averaging 11.5 yards per reception) and has been utilized a lot as a blocker.  That was especially true in 2015, as Allen was targeted 29 times in the passing game ("wow, that many?" Allen sarcastically said after the season) as he caught just 16 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.  He was, in essence, simply an extra offensive lineman for the Colts in 2015, and that was incredibly frustrating for him.  He's not letting on publicly to that frustration and has stated he still wants to return to the Colts, however, though whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

The Colts have decisions to make regarding their free agents, including which one of their tight ends is a higher priority: Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen?  Fleener is a better player in the passing game, but Allen is the better player overall and is a balanced tight end.  The problem with Allen, however, is that he has struggled with injuries and has been hampered by them in recent years.  There's reason to think that Rob Chudzinski and the Colts will get the tight ends more involved in the offense in 2016 (then again, it'd be hard not to get them more involved than they were in 2015), but it's unclear whether the team will want to pay Allen the money to keep him around.

It's entirely possible that he could hit free agency, and if that becomes the case then the Steelers would be wise to pursue him.  He'd be an ideal replacement for Heath Miller and can do a lot of the things that the Steelers asked Miller to do during his time there.  Allen can help out as a blocker and as a reliable receiver, as long as he can stay healthy.  It's never ideal to lose a beloved, productive player like the Steelers did with Heath Miller retiring, but Dwayne Allen could be a nice replacement plan for Pittsburgh if the Colts let him walk.