The Patriots appear to have gotten a jump on free agency by agreeing to a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. According to NFL Network, the Patriots will acquire Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, although the tweet from Ian Rapoport did not include the compensation, ESPN's Field Yates indicated it may be a late-round pick.
Allen is entering his sixth NFL season after spending the previous five with the Colts. Last year he grabbed 35 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games. He posted career-highs in catches (45) and yards (521) as a rookie in 2012 while adding three scores. His career best in touchdowns came in 2014 when he caught eight.
In five seasons Allen has 126 receptions for 1,451 yards and 19 touchdowns while 56 of 57 career games. He missed all but one game in 2013 but otherwise has been pretty durable, missing a total of eight games in the other four seasons.
Allen signed a four-year, $30 million extension with the Colts prior to last season, and has three years worth roughly $17.4 million remaining. He'll count just under $5 million on the cap in 2017 with a base salary of $2.5 million and a roster bonus of a little more than $2.4 million.
Bill Belichick has spoken highly of Allen in the past, citing his blocking as a positive. With Martellus Bennett set to become a free agent on Thursday, Allen would appear to represent a quality replacement.
UPDATE 5:33 P.M. Eastern
The Colts confirmed the trade late Thursday afternoon with the following Tweet: