The Patriots made their first move of the offseason this weekend at the NFL Combine, informing tight end Dwayne Allen that he is going to be released, a league source confirmed to the Globe.
By releasing Allen, the Patriots will save approximately $7.4 million in cash and salary cap space, with no dead money on the cap. The move comes as little surprise, as the Patriots previously cut Allen’s salary from $5 million to $3.5 million before the 2018 season. With the NFL on Friday officially setting the 2019 salary cap at $188.2 million, the Patriots will have approximately $24 million in salary cap space once Allen’s release is official.
The Patriots acquired Allen in a trade with the Colts before the 2017 season, and he was a solid contributor for two years, though he made little impact in the passing game. Allen, a seven-year NFL veteran, scored 19 touchdowns in five seasons with the Colts, but caught just 13 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown in two seasons in New England. In 2018, Allen caught just three passes for 27 yards all season.
But he was still a trusted member of the Patriots’ offense, playing in over 40 percent of snaps in the 13 games he played in 2018. Bill Belichick often praised Allen for his blocking in the run game, and Allen also contributed on special teams.
Allen’s release likely doesn’t have much impact on Rob Gronkowski’s decision to retire or return for the 2019 season. Even if Gronk returns, the Patriots will likely be investing in a tight end either in free agency or the NFL Draft. Their tight end depth chart also includes Jacob Hollister, Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo.