NFL Free Agent Profile: Center Brian Allen

Allen, a 26-year-old fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft by the Los Angeles Rams and now Super Bowl champion, is an above-average center in the 2022 free-agent roster, which also includes Jason Kelce. , Ryan Jensen and Ben Jones.

Allen is an upgrade from Cushenberry, but will be significantly more expensive than Cushenberry’s current rookie deal; the Bronco will earn just north of $1.2 million in 2022. Broncos general manager George Paton’s perception of “winning now” versus how quickly he thinks Cushenberry has grown will determine whether Allen sports orange and blue next season.

Player Profile

Size: 6-2
Weight: 303 pounds
Age: 26 years old
Experience: 4 years

Why this makes sense

Allen, simply put, is a marked improvement over Cushenberry. The Pro Bowl alternate recorded an 80.2 PFF rating compared to Cushenberry’s 64.2. While Cushenberry’s rating is up 23.7 points from 2020, the Broncos are officially set to win immediately – unlike where they were less than a week ago – with the acquisition of the quarterback Russell Wilson. Any below average cracks in the offensive line will be revealed with Denver in the national spotlight once again.

The most glaring common denominator Wilson faced in Seattle? An offensive line below average. Over the past 10 years, Wilson has been fired 427 times, the most of any quarterback in that span. If Denver is to prevent its brilliant new Super Bowl-winning QB from suffering the same fate again, a heavily invested O line is crucial.

Why doesn’t it make sense

Super Bowl-winning players are usually overpaid in free agency the following offseason. Broncos fans know it well: Malik Jackson signed a six-year, $85.5 million contract with Jacksonville after Denver won Super Bowl 50, to produce just 6.5 sacks in 16 games in 2016. Buccaneers changed that in 2021, managing to keep all 22 Super Bowl starters, but it will be interesting to know what the market price is on the Rams’ free agents. If it’s anything like the market after Denver recently won the Lombardi Trophy, Allen’s price could put Denver out of contention for his services.

Allen isn’t the best pass blocker – he posted a 63.5 PFF rating for pass blocking in 2021, compared to 87.4 for run blocking. Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett will want to air it out with his new quarterback toy, but that won’t be doable with pressure down the middle – just ask Tom Brady about his experience facing Denver’s inside pressure during the 2015 AFC Championship game.

Final Thoughts

While Allen is definitely seen as an upgrade at center, Denver would be better served to allocate their resources elsewhere. Expect Allen to land contracts between $6 million and $8 million a year; expect Denver to prioritize strengthening their right tackle position when free agency begins.

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