- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indianapolis Colts re-signed Dwayne Allen on Monday night, keeping him off the free-agent market and assuring Andrew Luck of keeping at least one of his top two tight ends.

The four-year deal is worth $29.44 million, a person with knowledge of the contract told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because the team had not announced details of the contract.

It’s the first major move the Colts have made this offseason.

“Dwayne’s tenacity and physicality have always been what has set him apart from the beginning,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a statement.

“His genuine love for the people of this community, its fans and for the game of football is what makes him special.”

Around Indianapolis, Allen has become a fan favorite with his penchant for talking and his help with causes such as the prevention of domestic violence.

Last season, he was named the Colts’ Man of the Year.

But Luck appreciates having Allen around for two other reasons - his ability to catch passes and block.

The only problem has been Allen’s inability to stay healthy.

He missed all but one game in 2013 with a hip injury that required surgery.

He missed three games with injuries in 2014 and finished last season on injured reserve with a calf injury.

When he’s been healthy - and a significant target in the offense - Allen has played well.

Since joining the Colts as a third-round draft pick in 2012, he has caught 91 passes for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns with eight of those coming in 2014.

What it means for Indy’s other free agents still isn’t clear.

They started the week with roughly $25 million in salary cap room and are hopeful of signing Luck to a long-term deal this offseason before his rookie contract expires after next season.

That’s not a lot of money given that Indy’s other primary tight end, Coby Fleener, a second-round pick in 2012 and a college teammate of Luck, could become a free agent on Wednesday.

So could kicker Adam Vinatieri and three defensive starters - linebacker Jerrell Freeman, safety Dwight Lowery and cornerback Greg Toler.

And Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano have already said their focus will be on improving the offensive line and pass rush.

Another complication is that Indy could be in the market for a backup quarterback, too. On Monday, the Colts released Matt Hasselbeck’s presumed successor, former first-round pick Josh Freeman. That leaves Indy with only two quarterbacks on the roster, Luck and Stephen Morris.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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