Yesterday, we continued our series looking at each Colts free agent by examining whether the team should re-sign Coby Fleener. As of the time I published this article, 55% of those who had voted said "no," and the likely reason is because those people want the team to re-sign Dwayne Allen instead. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said at the NFL Combine that it will be "tough" to keep both of the tight ends this year, meaning that they likely will have to choose one or the other.
When it comes to Dwayne Allen, it's easy to see that he's the better overall tight end when compared to Fleener, yet there's plenty of debate - and for good reason. Fleener is the better receiving option, while Allen has struggled with injuries. Some may choose to say that Allen's injuries are no concern, but here's the reality: he missed 15 games in 2013 and in each of the past two years has missed three games due to injury - issues that plagued him for more than just those three games, too. Sure, the fact that Allen has missed 21 games in the past three years is a bit misleading since a majority of that was in one season due to one injury, but the reality is that he's still missed multiple games due to injury in each of the past two seasons as well.
Overall, however, Allen is a good tight end who has been a big contributor to the Colts. During his four years with the Colts since being drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft, Allen has played in 43 games and has caught 91 passes for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 11.5 yards per catch. Allen's impact goes far beyond those numbers, however, as he has proven to be a more-than-capable blocker and very versatile. In 2015, the Colts essentially used him as an extra offensive lineman, and while he didn't love the lack of the receiving game, it goes to show that Allen can be used in a variety of ways.
Re-signing Allen seems to be the more logical of the two tight ends for the Colts, but they need to ensure (and assure Allen) that they will use him more in the passing game. That's what Allen wants, and that's where he's at his best. When the Colts can utilize him both as a blocker and a receiver, he can have the most impact, and I'd expect Rob Chudzinski to focus on using Allen in a more diverse way in 2016 if the Colts do bring the tight end back. The injury concerns are there with Allen, as there's a real possibility of him missing at least a few games, but Allen is the better overall player when healthy. Whether that means he'll be the one that's back or not, however, is another question.