Defensive tackle Beau Allen, who once provided a glimmer of hope that the New England Patriots could fix their run defense issues when healthy, isn’t walking through that tunnel.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Monday that Allen suffered another injury in practice last week and won’t return off of injured reserve. The Patriots have been trying to weather the storm without a nose tackle for seven games, putting smaller defensive linemen in the middle of their defense, but it might be time to acquire a true nose now that they know Allen isn’t returning.
Even if the Patriots aren’t going to be in playoff contention this season, they could at least acquire another defensive tackle to eat up space and make the team more competitive against the run. They let up 190 rushing yards in their Week 8 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy also suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday’s loss.
Here are the listed weights for Patriots defensive tackles:
Guy: 315 pounds
Adam Butler: 300 pounds
Byron Cowart: 300 pounds
Nick Thurman: 305 pounds
Carl Davis: 320 pounds
Allen is listed at 327 pounds. The Patriots lost nose tackle Danny Shelton in free agency this offseason. He’s listed at 335 pounds.
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. Unless the Patriots want to pry Shelton back away from the Lions, here are some options if they want to sign or trade for a defensive tackle:
DONTARI POE, FA
Poe was released by the Dallas Cowboys last week for being overweight. The Patriots need more size. Maybe that would be a good thing in New England. (We’re joking, but still.)
Poe’s career has taken a downturn after making Pro Bowls with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 and 2014. He’s played for the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Cowboys since 2017. The 2012 first-round pick is listed at 346 pounds.
ANTWAUN WOODS, DALLAS COWBOYS
Woods is 318 pounds but has a lower center of gravity at 6-foot-1. He’d be a cheap option, and the Cowboys, who are 2-6, might be willing to give up a piece for a low-round draft pick.
DALVIN TOMLINSON, NEW YORK GIANTS
Tomlinson, a 2017 second-round pick, is on the last year of his rookie contract. The Giants are 1-6 on the season and will likely lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. Giants head coach Joe Judge might be willing to work with the Patriots on a trade.
Tomlinson, who’s 6-foot-3, 318 pounds, is ninth in PFF’s run-stop percentage metric.
AUSTIN JOHNSON, NEW YORK GIANTS
Johnson is another big-bodied option on the Giants at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds. He’s buried on the depth chart behind Tomlinson, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence and B.J. Hill.
JOHN JENKINS, CHICAGO BEARS
Jenkins has had a tough start to the season with stints on the COVID-19/reserve and injured reserve lists. He has experience in a defense similar to New England’s after playing under head coach Brian Flores, a former Patriots assistant, with the Miami Dolphins last year.
At 6-foot-3, 327 pounds, he has similar size to Allen.
DAMON HARRISON, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
“Snacks” is currently on the Seahawks’ practice squad, so the Patriots could sign him to their 53-man roster. He’s 6-foot-3, 350 pounds and played under former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on the Detroit Lions in 2018 and 2019.