New England Patriots

On the same day the Patriots added $4.3 million to Rob Gronkowski’s 2018 contract, and two days before a heavy roster cutdown day, ESPN’s Field Yates reports that Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen has agreed to take a pay cut.

Acquired from the Indianapolis Colts (along with a sixth-round pick) in exchange for a fourth-round draft choice in 2017, Allen struggled to be the receiving threat he was during his tenure with the Colts in his first year in New England. In fact, the 28-year-old posted career-lows in receptions (10), targets (22), and yards (86), and finished the year with just one touchdown grab.

“If anyone was let down last year, it was myself,” Allen said earlier this month when reflecting on his first season in Foxboro. “The way that I played and took care of my body, it just wasn’t representative of the player that I am or the man that I am.”

Still clocking in at just over 260 pounds, Allen noted that he worked with the Patriots’ nutritionists to ‘feel younger.’

“Coach provides a wonderful training staff, incredible nutritionist, and of course weight room staff that I’ve been working closely with throughout the year and the offseason,” Allen, one of several Patriots to sit out Thursday’s preseason finale in New Jersey, admitted. “So just wanted to come back in better shape so I can execute and do my job to the best of my ability.”

And with Gronkowski and second-year pro Jacob Hollister expected to be the Patriots’ primary pass-catchers at the tight end spot, Allen will be relied upon to be New England’s top run-blocking option at the position.

Given that role (and the decision to sacrifice some dollars), Allen has become a lock for the Patriots’ 53-man roster.