Why the Detroit Lions should trade for Dwayne Allen
The Detroit Lions now have a hole at tight end. Beyond the free agent pool, there is another way to fill the void without going to the open market.
After the release of tight end Eric Ebron, the Detroit Lions are looking for a new starter. Free agency doesn’t have much to offer as the pickings are getting slim.
Another thing working against the Lions is the amount of cap space they have left. The details haven’t been updated but a realistic figure would be $8-10 million.
Unless they clear up more cap space, the Lions can only address one more starting spot. This upcoming draft will be crucial.
Top tight ends don’t come cheap either. The remaining ones on the market also have leverage as the Lions aren’t the only teams looking for tight end help.
Martellus Bennett is a good all-around tight end but is 31 years. Luke Willson is mostly unproven but is 28 and has upside. At 26, Levine Toilolo offers more as a blocker but is a younger option.
All the remaining tight ends won’t break the bank but it hurts that the Lions are short on funds. The draft is even more scarce of number one tight ends.
So how could Detroit find a younger starting caliber tight end at little cost? Via trade of course.
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The New England Patriots trade for Dwayne Allen in 2017 didn’t exactly pan out. Fast forward to 2018, and the Pats could be looking to move on after struggling to fit in.
If Allen was cut or traded, that’d free up $5 million in cap space. Detroit could help themselves out by trading for him and help New England by taking him and his money off their hands.
What would the Lions have to give the Patriots in return? Well, the Super Bowl runner-ups did lose running back Dion Lewis to the Tennessee Titans, and the NFC North runner-ups have their own version(s) of him. Those players are Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah.
Trading for Allen and giving up one of the pass catching running backs on the roster is a win-win for both sides. If the Lions traded Riddick, they’d save over $2.2 million in cap space but would cost over $1.9 in dead cap. Abdullah would only cost $320, 660 in dead cap but save just over $1 million. All of these figures came from Spotrac.
Riddick is the more popular running back with Lions fans and is more well-known throughout the NFL. But, trading him saves more money and probably wouldn’t require a draft pick included in the trade.
Abdullah wouldn’t be as much savings wise and would likely mean giving up a draft pick as well. He is the more unpopular back and isn’t as prolific as his running-mate.
The most logical choice would be trading Riddick, which in turn would only be a roughly $3 million change in cap given the difference from Allen’s cap hit. The Lions wouldn’t need to give up as much and would save more.
Yes, Rob Gronkowski could retire, but New England probably doesn’t envision Allen being the franchise guy. If Detroit could get Allen before he was potentially cut at a lower price than the market rate and save some cap space all at once, I’m all for a trade.
Tight ends at Allen’s age and ability cost more than what he’s charged to make. It’s worth looking into. Detroit could get him without giving up a decent draft pick and still keep Abdullah and Riddick but those players made sense given New England’s need at running back.
I’m all ears to other possibilities but this scenario makes the most sense for both sides. The Lions can survive without one or the other. If I had to choose, I’d trade Riddick for Allen.
Trades are tough to pull off, especially on the fans. Riddick is a fan favorite, but the huge need at tight end can’t be ignored.
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The NFL is a business first, and with a cheaper and higher potential player like Abdullah who’s capable of handling third down duties, it is a trade that can work. This would also remove the need for spending higher draft capital on a rookie tight end as well.