The Miami Dolphins were forced to go searching for a starting free safety this offseason after last year’s (potentially career threatening) neck injury to Isa Abdul-Quddus. The team seems to have found that safety in free agent signing Nate Allen, who comes to the Dolphins after two seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Allen was originally a second-round selection of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, playing both free- and strong-safety for five seasons before leaving in free agency to join the Raiders. However, injuries sidelined him for much of his first year in Oakland, then he played behind Karl Joseph last year.
Newly signed safety Nate Allen is ready to get to work. pic.twitter.com/oNWXGABZZj— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) March 13, 2017
The 2015 season was a rough one for Allen, who injured his knee in the team’s first game, landing on injured reserve with the designation to return. He got back on the field in Week 10, then again injured his knee in Week 14, heading back to injured reserve. The injuries clearly led to Oakland looking for a rookie replacement, which they found in Joseph, and, after initially looking like he would remain the starter, Allen spent the year behind Joseph on the depth chart.
Why was Allen available for Miami in free agency this year? I turned to Silver and Black Pride’s Levi Damien for an insider look at Allen:
Two years ago Allen signed a 4-year deal with the Raiders. Last offseason he was cut and re-signed on a one year deal after injuries cost him all but 5 games and sent him to IR twice in one season.
Last season, Allen backed up first round pick, Karl Joseph. Allen appeared in all 14 games, mostly on special teams, but stepped in as a starter late in the season due to Joseph suffering a toe injury and Allen played well, finishing the season with 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended and 26 combined tackles (20 solo).
Overall, however, his signing wasn’t a success. He is a fantastic team guy, leader, and locker room presence along with being a smart player on the field, but the injuries ruined his chances of living up to the player the Raiders hoped he would be.
In four games started at safety last year, Allen recorded two interceptions and looked fully capable of being the every-day safety for the Raiders. He was good against the run as well, capable of playing up into the box in support when needed.
Miami should be getting a player who can capably hold down the starting position opposite Reshad Jones, and can move into the box to disguise coverage when needed. Allen should be fully healthy now a year removed from his knee issues, and he should be able to put the lack of success with the Raiders behind him.