One of the big points of debate earlier this offseason was which tight end the Colts should re-sign, Dwayne Allen or Coby Fleener. There were arguments to be made for both sides, but in the end the Colts sided with Allen and inked him to a four-year, $29.4 million deal.
There have been some critics of the deal, however, and it primarily centers around Allen's ability to stay healthy. Because of the nature of the debate and because of some of those critics, however, head coach Chuck Pagano is still being asked why the Colts choose Allen months later. The team answered at the time of the signing what they saw in the tight end, but Pagano was asked again today why the Colts opted to re-sign Allen.
"I just think based on his body of work and what he brings to the table," Pagano said on Tuesday. "When you look around the league, he meets all the requirements that we're going to ask of our starting tight end. He's one of the better blockers in the league. We know, when healthy, he can be a mismatch. Guy's a big-body guy, he can make plays, he's going to be big for us in the red area. He's a starting tight end. He's a damn good tight end. That's why he's here."
Pagano's comments are what many others have said as well: Allen is a well-rounded player capable of helping the Colts as a blocker and as a receiver. He likely will be asked to fill an even bigger role in the passing game this year due to the lack of depth at wide receiver, the absence of Coby Fleener, and full-time offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's emphasis on the tight end in some of his past stops. The key, as Pagano alluded to, is staying healthy. Pagano pointed out that "when healthy" Allen can be a playmaker, but the team needs him to stay that way more than he has. Whether you want to label him as injury-prone or not, the reality of the situation is that he has missed at least three games in each of the past three years. With less depth behind him now and with big money coming his way, the Colts need him to stay on the field even more than they have in past years.
That's the big if when it comes to Allen, but it's clear that he can be a very good tight end when he's healthy. That's what the Colts saw in him, and that's why they ultimately opted to re-sign him and let Coby Fleener walk.