The Dolphins made their first significant addition of the offseason on Saturday, signing tight end Dwayne Allen to a two-year, $7 million deal, according to multiple sources.
Allen, who visited the Dolphins on Friday, joins Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe and Nick O’Leary as tight ends under contract.
Because Allen’s greatest strength is blocking, Allen’s signing would seemingly most impact Smythe and O’Leary, who are considered the best blockers of the three tight ends.
But though the Dolphins are expected to use doses of two tight end sets, it also raises questions about how much the Dolphins are expecting from Gesicki, the team’s second round pick a year ago.
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Though some teams keep four tight ends, many keep only three, and Allen and Gesicki assuredly will be two of them.
Allen, 29, had just three catches for 27 yards in 13 games for New England last season, including eight starts, but is a skilled blocker. He played 365 snaps on offense (32.6 percent) for the Pats this past season, per Pro Football Focus, but was used as a blocker on the vast majority of those plays.
He was targeted only 26 times as a receiver in his two years in New England and caught 13 of those targets for 113 yards.
He caught 35 passes for 406 yards for the Colts in 2016, his last of five seasons in Indianapolis.
Allen started eight games for the Patriots each of the past two seasons after starting 13, 12 and 14 his previous three seasons with the Colts.
Released by the Patriots early last week in a cap-cutting move, Allen visited Baltimore, Buffalo and Detroit before his Dolphins visit on Friday.
Gesicki had a disappointing rookie season (22 catches for 202 yards) and was subpar as a blocker.
Smythe, the team’s fourth round pick last April, was drafted with the hope that he could become a high-level NFL blocking tight end, his strength at Notre Dame.
O’Leary was signed to the practice squad last September, impressed enough not only to earn a promotion but a modest contract extension that will pay him $1.5 million in 2019.
The Dolphins are not expected to re-sign free agent tight end MarQueis Gray.