As breakups go, the Nate Allen-Raiders divorce will go down as one of the shortest on record.
Just two days after releasing the veteran safety, the Raiders re-signed him to a new deal Thursday. It’s now obvious that the release of Allen, 28, was simply a cost-cutting move by general manager Reggie McKenzie, and that McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio believe Allen can play a big role on the defense in 2016 and rebound completely from an injury-marred 2015 season in which he played just five games.
Though the Raiders did not release the terms of the new deal Thursday night, it will likely eventually show that Oakland will save money in 2016 and perhaps beyond.
The original deal with Allen, signed during the last offseason, was a four-year, $23 million contract that would have guaranteed $4.9 million to Allen if he were still on the roster Wednesday, reported Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com.
The Raiders still are expected to seek more help at safety with the retirement of Charles Woodson, but Allen’s return allows the team to retain at least one of 2015’s starting safeties and some continuity and depth at the position.
Allen was one of several veteran free agents signed by McKenzie before the 2015 season, along with defensive tackle Dan Williams and linebackers Malcolm Smith and Curtis Lofton. Williams and Smith played very well, but Lofton lost his starting job as the year progressed. Now Allen will get a second chance to make an impact.
Certainly, there were big questions about Allen when he signed his first deal with the Raiders in March of 2015. In his previous five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Allen had started 69 games and had 10 interceptions. But, as NFL.com’s Marc Sessler noted at the time, Allen was “too often fried” in coverage with the Eagles and was “hardly a premier safety.”
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., however, liked what he saw of Allen last season and was excited about what Allen brought to the defense.
“He’s a smart, fast playmaker,” said Norton in September. “He’s back there controlling the secondary. He knows a lot that’s going on and keeps everybody lined up.”