The sample is oftentimes small. The role often hidden. The statistics hard to measure.
That comes with the territory of playing nose tackle in a hybrid game of speed over size. But it’s a territory that Beau Allen, listed at 6-foot-3 and 327 pounds, will look to claim for the New England Patriots.
In the March hours after starter Danny Shelton departed for the Detroit Lions on a two-year contract carrying $4 million guaranteed, New England agreed to terms with Allen on a two-year, $7 million pact.
The former Philadelphia Eagle and Tampa Bay Buccaneer received a signing bonus of $1.7 million.
Allen has appeared in 90 games since landing in the seventh round of the 2014 draft, starting 16. A total of 117 tackles can be found on his résumé. He’s recorded 14 stops behind the line and 2.5 sacks.
The Wisconsin product saw a career-low 179 defensive snaps last year on a Tampa Bay depth chart featuring Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea and Rakeem Nunez-Roches. Allen checked into 13 games and battled an ankle injury. He did not start.
A combined 10 tackles, including two for loss, were accrued. So was a half-sack against Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
But there was something to the scenes where Allen’s name went uncredited.
The 28-year-old occupied multiple gaps as teammates took on the ball. He delayed and directed traffic instead of chasing it. And the Tampa Bay defense tied for an NFL-best 3.3 yards allowed per carry while earning a place in the archives with 73.8 rushing yards allowed per contest.
According to Pro Football Focus, Allen graded out 36th among all interior defensive linemen versus the run in the process. His 73.9 mark would have ranked atop New England’s group.
Allen, who had played 41% of the defensive snaps for the Eagles leading up to Super Bowl LII against the Patriots, now steps into the rotation with a chance at a similar workload.
Base salaries of $1.3 million in 2020 and $2.2 million in 2021 are ahead for Allen. As is up to $900,000 in cumulative per-game roster incentives each season and a maximum value of $8 million, per OverTheCap.com.
A total of $2.75 million is guaranteed.
Allen joins a member of New England’s All-Decade team in Lawrence Guy at the point of attack. Then there is Adam Butler, once an undrafted arrival, who was tendered at the $3.26 million restricted level this spring following a six-sack campaign. And 2019 fifth-round pick Byron Cowart out of Maryland is in line to take a sub-rushing step forward.
Also returning is Nick Thurman after a season spent on the Patriots’ practice squad, while rookie free agents in Louisiana Tech’s Courtney Wallace and William & Mary’s Bill Murray continue the conversation at defensive tackle.
But Allen’s mold carries weight from the two-technique over the helmet of guards to the zero-technique over the helmet of centers. It is short yards and early downs, leverage and few frills.
It’s what New England turned to as the market opened in March.