Patriots

How newcomer Beau Allen can address a specific need for Patriots' defense

How newcomer Beau Allen can address a specific need for Patriots' defense

On March 19, Patriots nose tackle Danny Shelton became an ex-Patriot. The 6-foot-2, 345-pound 26-year-old signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Detroit Lions that included $4 million guaranteed. 

On March 20, the Patriots signed their new Danny Shelton -- 6-foot-3, 327-pound, 28-year-old Beau Allen -- to a two-year, $7 million contract with $2.75 million guaranteed. Incentives can bring Allen to $8 million. 

Does this seem like a one-for-one swap of appliance-sized humans who’ll be asked to consume space, muck up running games and give a little interior pass-rush push? 

Yup!

Is that what it really is?

Yup!

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There’s no need to oversell the impact Allen is going to have for the Patriots. Every guy they add doesn’t have to be projected as a possible game-altering force opposing coordinators will have to contend with. 

Shelton was fine in his role most of the time – especially in 2019. Allen projects to also be … fine. 

“He’s an overachiever,” said Tampa Bay Times writer Rick Stroud, who covered Allen while he was with the Buccaneers. “That’s what he’s been his whole career. He was a seventh-round pick out of the University of Wisconsin and he’s a big-bodied guy who's played a lot of football at a pretty high level.”

Allen, like the other “new guys” we’ve dug into this week – Damiere Byrd and Adrian Phillips – had to scrap to get where he’s at. He was a role-playing defensive tackle with the Eagles from 2014 to 2017 then joined the Bucs on a three-year deal after winning the Super Bowl with Philly. The idea was to pair him with Bucs mainstay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. 

But Tampa veered a bit, adding Vita Vea with the 12th overall pick in the 2018 draft. They added Ndamukong Suh last spring. Suddenly, there were two highly-talented and fairly expensive players joining Allen. And he was too pricey for a bit player. Tampa illustrated that last year when they asked him to take a $1 million pay cut and he agreed to delete the final year of his deal.

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“(Allen’s) snaps went way down to like 17 percent,” said Stroud. “He was a rotational guy, but the league needs guys like Beau Allen. He can play in a 3-4 (defense), he can play in 4-3 and he can play anywhere from 0 (directly over the center) to three-technique (outside shoulder of the guard).  

“The Bucs were No. 1 against the run last year and a big reason for that is he holds that point of attack,” Stroud added. “Other guys may make the tackle, he may not be a big stat guy but he understands the game and he can be a good, solid player.”

Outstanding as their defense was for the balance of the season, the Patriots were ushered from the playoffs almost single-handedly by Derrick Henry, who ran 34 times for 182 yards in the Wild Card Round at Gillette.  

The rushing stats say they were effective stopping the run, allowed 95.5 yards per game on the ground (6th in the NFL). But there were outbursts like Tennessee’s, Baltimore’s (210 yards rushing), Cincinnati (164), Washington (145) and Buffalo (135). 

The Patriots have had a fair amount of front-seven turnover the past two years, losing players like Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Trey Flowers, Shelton and Malcom Brown. 

They still have two very good DTs who are under-appreciated – Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton – and John Simon may be one of the best athletes on the defense but the loss of Shelton had to be addressed. 

Allen represents that. And Stroud said he’s a good add in other ways as well. 

“Beau Allen is 300-something pounds,” said Stroud. “He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro so that’s how tough he is. That’s what he does in the offseason. He simply couldn’t get on the field (because of Vea and Suh) but when you lead the NFL in stopping the run, that says something.” 

NFL opt outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL opt outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL training camps officially began Tuesday, but there were some notable absences.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season last Friday, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, multiple players have followed suit, continuing a trend across all major North American professional sports of players declining to participate in their seasons as COVID-19 persists in the United States.

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The Patriots especially have felt the impact of this trend: Six New England players -- including star linebacker Dont'a Hightower -- already have opted out, the most of any NFL team.

Below is a running list of the players who have opted out of the 2020 NFL season, according to reports or team/player confirmations. The list is sorted alphabetically after the Patriots, with the date of the players' opt-outs in parentheses.

New England Patriots

RB Brandon Bolden (July 28)
OT Marcus Cannon (July 28)
S Patrick Chung (July 28)
LB Dont'a Hightower (July 28)
WR Marqise Lee (August 1)
OG Najee Toran (July 27)
FB Danny Vitale (July 27)
TE Matt LaCosse (August 2)

Baltimore Ravens

OT Andre Smith (July 28)
WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas (July 27)

Buffalo Bills

CB E.J. Gaines (August 2)
DT Star Lotulelei (July 28)

Carolina Panthers

LB Jordan Mack (July 28)
LB Christian Miller (August 3)

Chicago Bears

DT Eddie Goldman (July 28)

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince (July 31)
DT Josh Tupou (July 31)

Cleveland Browns

OL Drake Dorbeck (July 29)
OL Drew Forbes (July 29)

Dallas Cowboys

CB Maurice Canady (July 27)
WR Stephen Guidry (July 28)
FB Jamize Olawale (Aug. 2)

Denver Broncos

OT JaWuan James (Aug. 3)
DT Kyle Peko (July 28)

Detroit Lions

DT John Atkins (July 29)
WR Geronimo Allison (Aug. 2)

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess (July 28)

Houston Texans

DT Eddie Vanderdoes (July 28)

Jacksonville Jaguars

EDGE Larentee McCray (August 1)
DL Al Woods (July 31)

Kansas City Chiefs

OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (July 24)
RB Damien Williams (July 29)

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer (July 31)

Minnesota Vikings

NT Michael Pierce (July 28)

New Orleans Saints

TE Jason Vander Laan (July 28)
TE Cole Wick (July 28)

New York Giants

WR Da'Mari Scott (August 2)
LT Nate Solder (July 29)

New York Jets

OL Leo Koloamatangi (July 28)
LB CJ Mosley (Aug. 1)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin (July 28)

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack (July 27)

Tennessee Titans

OL Anthony McKinney (July 28)

Washington Football Team

DT Caleb Brantley (July 27)

Free Agents

G Larry Warford (July 28)

Julian Edelman shows Tom Brady love on ex-Patriots QB's 43rd birthday

Julian Edelman shows Tom Brady love on ex-Patriots QB's 43rd birthday

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman are no longer teammates, but they're very much still friends.

Brady celebrated his 43rd birthday Monday as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an NFL first for the quarterback after 20 years with the New England Patriots.

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Edelman, who spent 11 seasons as Brady's teammate in New England, used his Instagram story to shout out his former QB with some heartfelt well wishes.

Edelman seemingly is eager to prove he's not just "a product of Brady" after the QB helped him amass a career-high 1,117 receiving yards last season.

The 34-year-old wide receiver also has been working out with new Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, so he's certainly not dwelling on the past.

Then again, he and Brady developed an incredibly close bond as Patriots teammates and won three Super Bowl titles together, and that bond hasn't broken despite Brady migrating to Tampa Bay.