I apologize, this is one of those "move-the-chains" blurbs where nothing much is revealed…
At least for Nate Allen, it's a very good day.
The Philadelphia Eagles and safety Nate Allen have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced Monday.
Allen proved to be a resilient force in the Eagles' secondary in 2013. He ranked third on the team with a career-high 59 solo tackles and 23 assists. He also had a sack and an interception while starting all 16 regular season games. For a guy who took a lot of heat for being in the wrong place at the wrong time in 2012, Allen "showed up" more often than not last season.
In 59 career regular season games (54 starts), the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Allen has amassed 310 tackles, six interceptions, three sacks and 23 pass knockdowns. People tend to overlook his paper trail.
A second-round draft choice of the Eagles in 2010, Allen starred at South Florida in college, compiling nine career interceptions and three touchdowns for the Bulls en route to second-team All-Big East honors during his senior season.
Nate the Skate (as dubbed by our in-house observer GK Brizer) has had his moments of fame—and his moments of doubt and shame.
Nate's re-signing comes on the heels of a busy week for the Eagles. On March 11 they moved quickly to sign unrestricted free agent safety Malcolm Jenkins. The next day the team shored up its special teams by signing safety Chris Maragos and OLB Bryan Braman. Finally, they ended the first week of the free-agent signing period by acquiring running back Darren Sproles from the New Orleans Saints.
“With the one-year deal, obviously my best bet would probably be to come back to a system I already understood and have been a part of for a year,” Allen said on a conference call Monday. “I just want to hit the ground running and keep improving. And I’m excited to be back here in Philly.”
Allen produced three interceptions in his first four games after joining the Eagles as a second-round pick out of South Florida in 2010. He totaled just three picks in the next 54 games with the Birds. A ruptured patellar tendon late in his rookie season aggravated the slide.
Almost remarkably, Allen started all 16 games last season despite the challenge of rookie Earl Wolff and the addition of free agent Patrick Chung. It was the first time Allen played in all 16 games.
All of that said the Eagles clearly don’t view Allen in the same light as Malcolm Jenkins, who signed a three-year contract worth up to $16 million to play free safety.
Allen’s one-year deal is worth $2 million, according to reports. The Eagles signed safety Chris Maragos for three years and $4 million. Both Allen and Maragos will play roles on special teams, too.
What has dogged Nate Allen's image more than anything have been the occasional missed tackles he has suffered. It just seemed that when Nate missed, he whiffed big-time. Swing and a miss….Miscommunication at times left him horribly out of position on some pass plays during the Juan Castillo experiment…
But you've gotta give him credit for not quitting.
If Allen stays healthy and has a solid season, a better contract almost certainly will be forthcoming. Allen hoped that would happen this year but said the one-year pact simply was “what the people were offering.”
“I was just glad to be back here in Philly,” said Allen, who avoided the dreaded break-in period by sticking with the Birds. “I look at it as a blessing. I’m just going to take it for what it is and play ball and just try to have a great year this year.”
Allen expects to compete for a starting job, most likely at "strong" safety with Wolff—although DC Bill Davis prefers to use the terms "left-side" safety and "right-side" safety. But Nate's not the only guy in the secondary who has a battle ahead.
Nolan Carroll (6-1, 205), whom the Eagles inked to a two-year, $5 million pact, expects to compete for a starting job at cornerback. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher started at the corners last season.
“The new additions are great,” Allen said. “They’re top-of the-line guys. They’re great athletes. Malcolm Jenkins is a great athlete. Nolan Carroll too… All of those guys. They’re great additions for us and I’m excited to work with them."
“As far as playing, I’m just going to compete. I’ll go to training camp and OTA's and just work for a position and just go out and play ball and be Nate.”
Just be Nate—"The Skate"— be yourself—and that's all Brizer would ask of Nate or any of us—Perk Up!—and be the best you can be….in the end, nothing else really matters.