Many are confused by the recent news of Baltimore expressing great interest in free agent TE Dwayne Allen. With C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and others hitting the open market, is the team really wanting to go after a blocking tight end?
There are two sides to this coin and I will attempt to break them down for everyone.
Baltimore just drafted two tight ends in the 2018 NFL Draft: Hayden Hurst & Mark Andrews. They didn’t just acquire these players in the later rounds, either. Hurst was a first-round selection and Andrews was picked in the third. While this may not be Eric DeCosta worrying about these two stepping up to full-time roles, it’s still not the greatest signal of confidence for these younger players. With the little cap space left ($18.56 million per Over The Cap) the team is scheduling a visit with a blocking tight end?
Mark Andrews looked great and Hayden Hurst played all season with a screw in his foot. Why not run with these two and maybe an undrafted free agent or a flier on a lesser-known prospect from another teams’ eventual practice squad, rather than spending (an expected) couple million dollars on Allen?
Allen’s not as big as his name. Over the last two seasons, he’s been playing second-fiddle to Rob Gronkowski and still not a pass-catching tight end. He’s a heavily utilized blocking tight end. Something the Ravens love using, especially with the running game. With Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle leaving in free agency, it’s a good idea to find another strong blocker to open lanes on the edge and in the second level for Gus Edwards, Kenneth Dixon and Lamar Jackson. Allen isn’t a guaranteed signing, either. He’s just going for a visit. The Ravens will give him a pitch on how he can help mentor the younger players while still landing solid playing time utilizing him to his strongest skills. If he’s not mutually interested, the Buffalo Bills will talk with him the next day. They and their $79 million in cap space can overpay for the blocker and it won’t be a loss for Baltimore.
Circling back, the Ravens need a blocking tight end as I don’t expect them to be pushing blocking duties on Andrews. While he’s capable of blocking, his rookie year already brought about great receiving production and why not build on him as a receiving threat than sticking him into a blocking role. Hurst was also drafted with a first-round pick due to his hands and receiving skills, not just to be an extra tackle on the ends. This way, Allen will be the go-to blocking weapon while in max protection with Andrews or Hurst breaking loose for openings in the opposition’s defense.
Do you like the idea of signing TE Dwayne Allen?
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