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Dwayne Allen trade makes sense for both Colts and Patriots

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

In the moments after the reports broke this afternoon that the Colts were trading Dwayne Allen to the Patriots, two prevailing opinions seemed to emerge:

  1. It’s impressive that the Colts got a fourth round pick for Allen and a sixth round pick.
  2. Allen will likely have success in New England.

On the surface, those two opinions seem to be opposing each other. But I would argue that Colts fans can actually be right in believing both things at the same time. Allow me to explain.

The Colts getting a fourth round pick for Allen and a sixth round pick is indeed a good deal. Considering there were a loud number of Colts fans that wanted the team to just cut Allen outright, to be able to get a mid-round pick for him should be celebrated. I don’t think many would have thought that the Colts could get a fourth round pick in this Allen trade, so Chris Ballard deserves credit for making the move. He re-signed Jack Doyle last night - a better tight end - to a deal that averages less per year than Allen and then turned around and got a fourth round pick for Allen (plus a sixth round pick). Allen had disappointed in Indianapolis since his rookie year as he struggled with injuries and consistency on-the-field, and it was doubtful that he’d magically regain his 2012 form in Indy moving forward. So nobody should be disappointed in what the Colts got for Allen. Again, there were many that wanted him cut in the first place without any compensation in return!

The disappointment with this deal, if fans have any, is that Allen is going to the Patriots. Why? Because put simply, the Patriots and Bill Belichick are masters at getting the most out of their players. They haven’t won five Super Bowls for nothing: their coaching staff does an expert job at maximizing the talent they have. They’re the best in the league at that, and quite frankly it’s not even close. So the Colts are sending Allen, a guy who had a great 2012 season and who has talent, to a team that maximizes talent better than anyone else. So yes, if Allen stays healthy (and that’s a big if), it’s likely he’ll succeed in New England with that coaching staff.

So I think both are true: I think it’s impressive for Chris Ballard to be able to get a fourth rounder out of this deal, but I also think that Allen will have success in New England if he stays healthy because he’ll be in a good situation. That makes it easy to see why both teams were willing to do the deal. The Colts surely realized that Allen wasn’t all that impressive recently, and to get a nice draft pick in return to give them six picks in the first four rounds was worth it for them. If Allen had stayed in Indianapolis, he likely would have just continued to be an average player. But the Patriots realized that Allen is a player not reaching his potential and they surely trust their coaching staff to be able to maximize that potential. So for them, trading a fourth round pick is a risk worth taking. You can see why it’s understandable for both sides.

Ultimately, it’s a good move for Chris Ballard to get a fourth round pick for Allen. And if Allen wasn’t going to the rival Patriots, I think the trade would be more widely embraced for the Colts.