Ricardo Allen

Bengals Place Ricardo Allen On IR

Bengals safety Ricardo Allen will be out for at least three weeks with a hamstring strain and a broken hand (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). As a result, they’ll place Allen on short-term IR and sign veteran safety Sean Davis to the practice squad as insurance. 

Allen joined the Bengals in March to fortify the safety group. Before that, he operated as a first-string safety for the Falcons from 2015-2020, including a start in Super Bowl LI. Despite losing his 2018 season to injury, the 29-year-old was mostly healthy over the last two years, up until now.

In his 12 games last season, the 29-year-old registered 25 stops and a pair of interceptions. Counting the ill-fated season opener against the Vikings, he’s appeared in 78 games (76 starts) since 2014. And, in those 21 snaps on Sunday, Pro Football Focus assigned him a solid overall grade of 85.4.

The Bengals could promote Davis, Brandon Wilson, or Trayvon Henderson as they await Allen’s return from IR. They’ll likely make the call today as they gear up for the Bears in Week 2.

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Bengals To Sign Ricardo Allen

After being cut by the Falcons, Ricardo Allen has found a new home. On Wednesday, the Bengals agreed to sign the veteran safety to a one-year deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

Allen operated as a first-string safety for the Falcons from 2015-2020, including a start in Super Bowl LI. Despite losing his 2018 season to injury, the 29-year-old has been mostly healthy over the last two years.

The Bengals made a point to upgrade their secondary by bringing in new cornerbacks like Eli AppleMike Hilton, and Chidobe Awuzie. Allen, meanwhile, gives them another option at safety on what should be a fairly low-cost deal.

In his 12 games last season, the 29-year-old registered 25 stops and a pair of interceptions. He comes to Cincy with plenty of veteran experience, having appeared in 77 games (76 starts) since 2014.

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Bengals Host S Ricardo Allen On Visit

The Falcons made longtime safety starter Ricardo Allen a cap casualty last month. The Bengals are exploring the prospect of bringing him in.

Allen visited the Bengals on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Because Allen is a street free agent, he would be able to sign with another team at any point.

A starter for the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Allen has operated as a first-string safety since the 2015 season. The former fifth-round pick saw his run as a key Falcons defender pause in 2018, with an early-season injury wiping out most of that season, but he bounced back over the past two years to play in 28 games. He would profile as a lower-cost option for a Bengals team that has made a few outside efforts to improve its secondary last year.

The Bengals added a few pieces to their secondary in 2020, signing safety Vonn Bell and cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. Waynes, however, missed the season. While the team ranked 26th defensively, Cincinnati’s pass defense came in at 19th. Bell and Waynes remain under contract, while Alexander is a free agent for the second straight year. The Bengals’ $37MM-plus in cap space ranks in the top 10, with two weeks remaining until the legal tampering period.

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Falcons Release Ricardo Allen, Allen Bailey

The Falcons have released safety Ricardo Allen and defensive end Allen Bailey (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Together, the moves will free up $10.75MM in salary cap space for Atlanta. 

Allen agreed to a simple contract restructuring last year to give the Falcons additional breathing room last year. This time around, the Falcons chose to wipe his entire deal off of the books. Previously, the safety was set to play out the final year of his three-year, $19.5MM deal. Instead, the Falcons will save a pretty penny with just $2.125MM in dead money left on the books.

Allen, a 2014 fifth-round pick, cracked the starting lineup in his second pro season. After 77 games (76 starts), he’ll seek new employment elsewhere. In 12 games last year, the 29-year-old registered 25 stops and a pair of interceptions.

Bailey inked a one-year, $4.5MM extension in the 2020 offseason. After spending his first eight seasons with the Chiefs, he found a regular role with the Falcons in 2019, appearing in 15 games and making five starts. Last year, he had perfect attendance with four starts, but the Falcons are looking to go younger and cheaper on the edge. In total, Bailey has 133 regular season games and 22 sacks to his credit.

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South Notes: Tannehill, Texans, Falcons

The refrain during the final several weeks of the Titans‘ season pointed to either a Ryan Tannehill extension or franchise tag. But the resurgent team may not be entirely committed to the ex-Dolphin yet. The Titans have not decided Tannehill is worth a $27MM franchise tag or a franchise QB-level salary, Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com note. Tannehill is open to a long-term Titans deal, and the sides began discussing an extension late in the season. After the quarterback’s surprising stretch to help the team to the AFC title game, it would be surprising if he were allowed to hit the market. But the Titans do have Derrick Henry as a franchise tag candidate and four-year right tackle starter Jack Conklin set for free agency as well. The Titans have some major decisions to make in the next few weeks. Teams can use their franchise and transition tags this year, if there is no new CBA in place by the time the tag window opens February 25. Teams have from Feb. 25-March 10 to apply tags.

Here is the latest from the South divisions:

  • Among their free agents, Austin Hooper appears to be the Falcons‘ top priority. De’Vondre Campbell is on the team’s re-up radar as well. Vic Beasley‘s future in Atlanta is less certain. The former first-round pick earned All-Pro acclaim in 2016 but fell off the radar for years after that dominant season. “Well, Vic played at a different level in the back half of the year than the first half of the year,” Arthur Blank said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “What changed for him, I’m not exactly sure. And whether or not we can have that kind of consistency with him when it matters, only time will tell.” A trade candidate at the deadline, Beasley finished with four sacks in his final four games to record eight this season.
  • Falcons safety Ricardo Allen underwent shoulder surgery recently, Jason Butt of The Athletic tweets. The veteran defender played through a shoulder malady late in the season. He will require a multiple-month rehab process, which could delay his participation in the Falcons’ offseason program.
  • The Texans added multiple staffers to lower-level positions, bringing in Deon Broomfield as a defensive assistant and DeNarius McGhee as a quality control coach, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Broomfield coached cornerbacks at Indiana State for the past three years, while McGee coached quarterbacks and running backs at Montana State in that span.

Falcons Create Room For Julio Jones Deal

The Falcons are “very, very close” to an extension for Julio Jones, owner Arthur Blank tells Jeff Schultz of TheAthletic.com (on Twitter). Of course, this is roughly what we’ve been hearing all summer, but it’s worth noting since we are days away from the start of the season and it is coming directly from the owner’s mouth. 

Furthermore, the Falcons have created some additional breathing room that may give them the cap space necessary to re-up their star wide receiver. The team completed simple contract restructurings with left tackle Jake Matthews and safety Ricardo Allen, according to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (on Twitter) to carve out another $5MM.

We’ve been here many times before, but this time, it feels real. In all likelihood, Jones will have a brand new deal by the end of the week that will put him at or near the top of the WR heap in the NFL.

Falcons Notes: Julio, Neal, Allen, Smith

We learned earlier today that the Falcons may already have a new deal in place for star receiver Julio Jones, but GM Thomas Dimitroff declined to put a timetable on the negotiations. As Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes, Dimitroff did express optimism that the two sides would reach an accord.

Dimitroff said, “[w]e have the utmost faith that Julio is coming here and he’s taking care of his business while he’s here, and we’ll keep plugging away with [Jones’ agent] Jimmy [Sexton]. We have a very good working relationship and respect for Jimmy Sexton and CAA, and I’m confident [the deal] will get done.”

Sexton could not be reached for comment, but after getting long-term deals for Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones done this month, it looks like the Falcons will give Julio Jones his new contract in short order.

Now for more from Atlanta:

  • We heard back in May that the Falcons’ starting safety tandem of Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, who suffered major injuries that ended their 2018 seasons prematurely, were expected to be ready for training camp, and that turned out to be true. As Ledbetter writes, Allen returned to the practice field Monday and went through most of the team drills, and Emmanuel Morgan of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that Neal has participated in drills and has taken reps with the first-team defense. Unfortunately, the club lost backup safety J.J. Wilcox for the season after he tore his ACL on Monday.
  • The Falcons plan to expand RB Ito Smith‘s role this season, as Morgan writes in a separate piece. Smith will serve as the club’s No. 2 back behind Devonta Freeman, and he will look to improve his pass protection and his ability to hit holes at full speed while continuing to refine his abilities as a pass catcher. Running backs coach Matt Brock hinted that the club may only carry three RBs, so the battle for the No. 3 spot behind Freeman and Smith is one that he expects to be highly competitive.
  • Defensive lineman Michael Bennett suffered a broken ankle on Monday, but he could return this season, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.
  • The Falcons signed veteran DL Allen Bailey yesterday.

NFC South Notes: Little, Falcons, Grayson

The Panthers traded up in the second round of the 2019 draft to land Ole Miss offensive tackle Greg Little, and as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk writes, Carolina’s left tackle job is seemingly Little’s to lose. The Panthers deployed Taylor Moton on the blindside last season, but GM Marty Hurney‘s preference is to have Moton play right tackle. Daryl Williams is still in the mix for a spot on the right side of the line, but the club appears prepared to pencil in Little as its starting LT, which would make the rookie a key figure in the Panthers’ 2019 fortunes.

Now for more from the NFC South:

  • The Falcons have until July 15 to work out a long-term extension with franchise-tagged defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, but GM Thomas Dimitroff recently conceded that Jarrett may play out the 2019 campaign under the tag, which suggests that the two sides still aren’t particularly close on a new contract. Dimitroff said (via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), “I’m confident that something will get done one way or the other. If it doesn’t, we have a year to continue to talk about it.”
  • The Falcons‘ starting safety tandem of Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, who are recovering from major injuries that ended their 2018 seasons prematurely, are both expected to be at full strength by the time training camp begins in July, as Ledbetter notes in a separate piece.
  • The Saints tried out former LSU track star Cyril Grayson yesterday, as Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune tweets. Grayson has spent time with the Seahawks, Colts, and Bears, but he has yet to see regular season action.

Falcons’ Ricardo Allen Done For Season

Falcons safety Ricardo Allen tore his Achilles and is out for the season, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It’s a tough blow for an Atlanta defense that has already lost multiple defensive starters to injury this year. 

Allen inked a three-year, $19.5MM extension with the Falcons before the start of the season, tying him to the club through the 2021 campaign. In his previous four seasons with the team, Allen played in 46 games, including 45 starts. During that time, he racked up six interceptions, ten deflected passes, one fumble recovery, and 158 tackles. This year, he added an interception in the team’s Week 2 victory over the Panthers plus 14 total tackles through three contests.

After a crushing overtime loss to the Saints, the 1-2 Falcons will look to rebound against the Bengals on Sunday. They’ll do so without one of their better players in the secondary.

The injury may force the Falcons to promote Jordan Richards or Keith Tandy to the starting lineup, but those are uninspiring options for a team that is already without starting safety Keanu Neal. Instead, one has to wonder if the Falcons might inquire on free agent Eric Reid, or pursue Seahawks safety Earl Thomas via trade.

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Falcons, S Ricardo Allen Agree To Extension

The Falcons have agreed to a three-year extension with safety Ricardo Allen, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The pact, worth $19.5MM, will keep Allen in place through the 2021 season. 

The Falcons retained Allen this offseason by assigning the $2.914MM restricted free agent tender to him. He took his time before signing the deal, waiting until June to ink the contract. Allen took a small gamble by waiting to sign his tender, but the Falcons were unlikely to pull it the given his past performance.

In four seasons with the team, Allen has played in 46 games, including 45 starts. All in all, he has made six interceptions, ten deflected passes, one fumble recovery, and 158 tackles. Allen made it clear that he wanted to play in Atlanta beyond the 2018 season and the interest was mutual, so it was only a matter of time before a deal came together.

The $6.5MM average annual value on the deal puts Allen in the top 20 amongst all NFL safeties. Currently, four other safeties – Glover Quin (Lions), Barry Church (Jaguars), Jaquiski Tartt (49ers), and Eric Weddle (Ravens) – make the same per year on average.

Still, it’s a reasonably priced deal that should give the Falcons enough room to work out an extension with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Meanwhile, Allen has obtained financial security that will spare him from testing a weak market for free agent safeties.

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