INDIANAPOLIS — Tight end Dwayne Allen is eager to get started with the New England Patriots after the Indianapolis Colts traded him on the eve of free agency on Wednesday.

Allen, who turned 27 last month, acknowledged the trade on Twitter, where he wrote he was “humbled and eager to earn the right to be called a New England Patriot.” NFL.com reported the Colts will send Allen and a sixth-round draft choice for the Patriots’ fourth-round pick.

With Martellus Bennett reportedly seeking $9 million per year, the Patriots needed to get creative to reel in a solid backup tight end.

The Patriots will owe Allen $17.4 million over the final three years of his contract.

Coach Bill Belichick praised Allen’s blocking ability, particularly at the point of attack in October 2015. Because of that, they can keep him on the field in all situations, and could have the luxury of spelling Rob Gronkowski if necessary.

Allen is also capable as a pass catcher. His best season came as a rookie in 2012 with 45 receptions for 521 yards, and he caught a career-best eight touchdowns in 2014. Allen has averaged 31.3 catches for 357.8 yards per season over his career. He has caught 19 total touchdowns.

The Patriots also could tap into a big-time class of tight ends in the draft if they want to groom another long-term answer at the position.

NEW ENGLAND doesn’t often make splashy free agent signings, particularly at skill positions, but that could change.

The Pats reportedly are in the mix for two high-profile players.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the Raiders, Seahawks and Patriots are candidates to land running back Adrian Peterson, recently cut by the Vikings.

Also, the Pats are among a handful of teams expressing interest in free-agent receiver DeSean Jackson, according to The Washington Post. Jackson, one of the fastest receivers in the NFL, is also being courted by the Bucs, Cowboys and Eagles, per The Post.

NEW ENGLAND placed a first-round tender on restricted free agent Malcolm Butler, according to several reports.

If Butler signs, he will be owed $3.91 million for the 2017 season. This is a significant upgrade from his 2016 salary of $600,000 but is still well below Butler’s projected market value. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent after next season.