The writing was on the wall for punter Ryan Allen after the past NFL Draft.
And on Monday, the New England Patriots made it official, releasing the three-time Super Bowl Champion punter after six seasons in New England. The move officially means rookie fifth-round pick Jake Bailey will be the new punter for the Patriots and will likely handle the kickoff duties as well.
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Bailey had been the better punter during the preseason, showing off his impressive distance and hangtime ability while beating out Allen for the job. Despite Allen punting more than Bailey in games, the rookie served as a holder and had a booming blast on a free-kick following a safety over the weekend.
Allen’s Patriots Tenure at a Glance
Undrafted out of Louisiana Tech, Allen earned his roster spot much like he lost it – beating out incumbent Zoltan Mesko for the job in the preseason.
Allen set a Super Bowl record with a 64-yard punt against the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, only to watch his former college teammate Johnny Hekker break it by one yard in 2019. Allen was equally as impressive as Hekker in Super Bowl LIII, pinning the Los Angeles Rams inside the 10-yard line three times.
In his time with New England, Allen averaged 45.3 yards per punt and had a long of 67 yards twice in both 2014 and 2015. He rebounded last season after a pair of down seasons in 2016 and 2017. But after signing a one-year deal in the offseason, he was ultimately replaced.
Where Will He Go?
Allen is a punter with championship pedigree who clearly has a lot left in the tank. There are a few teams that could use his services as they look for a punter who will likely be used often.
The Minnesota Vikings need a punter after primary option Matt Wile was injured in a preseason game. His potential replacement, Kaare Vedvik, is a Norwegian who is raw when it comes to NFL punting or kicking. After the Vikings inked veteran kicker Dan Bailey, it might be wise to get a guy like Allen who has shown his ability to pin opponents in deep during his career.
Another potential spot is Denver, where Allen has averaged 45.7 yards per punt in five games during his career. The Broncos were in a bind last year when Marquette King went down, signing Colby Wadman off the practice squad. Wadman sufficed but having a guy like Allen punting in an atmosphere like Denver could really benefit the Broncos.
A third, less likely destination is Oakland. The Raiders have been happy with the production of longshot A.J. Cole III so far in preseason. But as Oakland looks for a resurgence, signing a veteran punter might be more beneficial in the long run. Oakland is also close to Allen’s hometown of Salem, Oregon.
But with former Raiders’ punter Marquette King still out there as a free agent, it might be more suitable to go with the someone who knows the system.
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