The Pittsburgh Steelers placed a contract tender on restricted free agent linebacker and former Penn State defensive back Marcus Allen according to a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The tender is an original-round tender for Allen, worth $2.54 million if he plays for the Steelers this season. He and the team can also work out a different or longer contract for him to stay in Pittsburgh.
Allen can also negotiate with another team, though the Steelers retain the right of first refusal on any contract Allen might agree to, and would receive a fifth-round draft pick in compensation should he end up playing with another team.
The 25-year-old Allen played most of his time on special teams and became an important player in that role, playing just over 300 snaps there in 2021, 65% of the team’s total special teams snaps. While he doesn’t play much on the defense, he did make four and five tackles, respectfully, in the final two games against Cleveland and Baltimore, both of which ended in wins that pushed Pittsburgh into the postseason.
His play on special teams gives him a higher chance to make an impact on defense next season. Allen will compete against fellow inside linebackers Robert Spillane, Ulysees Gilbert III and Buddy Johnson to slot behind incumbent starters Devin Bush and Joe Schobert.
Originally drafted as a safety out of Penn State in 2017, Allen has steadily increased his role since making the move to inside linebacker before the 2020 season. He played in two games in 2018 and one in 2019, but suited up 14 times in 2020, including two starts. Last season, he played in 16 games and made one start. In his career, Allen has 45 tackles, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits.
With the Lions, Allen became the sixth Penn State player to ever record 300 tackles in his college career, finishing fifth on the program’s all-time tackles list. The highlight of his PSU career came on Oct. 22, 2016, when he blocked an Ohio State field goal attempt that was returned for a touchdown by Grant Haley as the Lions upset No. 2 Ohio State.