Ryan Allen was able to hold off a young challenger last summer. He could not repeat that feat a second time.
The New England Patriots are releasing Allen, according to a report Monday from Jim McBride of The Boston Globe. That means fifth-round rookie Jake Bailey will serve as the team’s punter for the 2019 season.
Allen spent six seasons with the Patriots after making the team as an undrafted rookie in 2013, winning three Super Bowls and playing in another. During Super Bowl LIII, he pinned three punts inside the 10-yard line, helping stifle the Los Angeles Rams’ high-powered offense in a 13-3 Patriots victory.
The Patriots signed undrafted rookie Corey Bojorquez to compete with Allen ahead of the 2018 season, but Allen easily won that battle, with Bojorquez not playing a single snap during the preseason. He faced a more worthy opponent in Bailey, whom New England traded up to select in the 2019 NFL Draft after re-signing Allen to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
Allen and Bailey split time during the Patriots’ first two preseason games, with Allen punting five times (43.8-yard average) to Bailey’s two (49.5). Bailey, whose punts in practice routinely traveled higher and farther than Allen’s, also uncorked a 67-yard free kick following a Patriots safety during Saturday’s win over the Tennessee Titans and shared kickoff duties with veteran Stephen Gostkowski.
It’s unclear whether Bailey, who punted and kicked off at Stanford and who, unlike most Patriots punters, is right-footed, will pull double duty for New England, as well. Gostkowski said this spring he would prefer to continue kicking off.
Bailey was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2017 and 2018, finishing his college career as Stanford’s all-time leader in punting average (43.81 yards). Thirty-seven of his 68 punts last season were downed inside the 20-yard line, according to Pro Football Focus, and he recorded touchbacks on 173 of his 291 collegiate kickoffs, including 60 of 72 (83.3 percent) as a senior.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images