Chargers Trade Keenan Allen To Bears

The Chargers’ cap crunch has forced the team to move on from their longest-tenured player. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chargers are dealing wide receiver Keenan Allen to the Bears. FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer was first with the news.

Los Angeles will receive a fourth-round pick in return. Per Albert Breer of TheMMQB, the Chargers are receiving the earliest of the Bears’ two fourth-round picks (No. 110).

With the Chargers needing to clear $27MM to reach cap compliance, eyes immediately focused on their four massive cap hits: Allen, Mike Williams, Khalil Mack, and Joey Bosa. The front office put in extra work yesterday before the mandatory cap deadline, releasing Williams and reworking the contracts of both Mack and Bosa. Those three transactions didn’t mark the end of their efforts, however.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Chargers approached Allen about taking a pay cut today. The receiver refused, and the organization promptly dealt the player to Chicago. The wideout is attached to a $34MM-plus cap hit in 2024, and on top of his $18MM-plus base salary, he’s due more than $5MM via a roster bonus this month. Allen is still attached to a four-year, $80.1MM extension he signed with the Chargers back in 2020.

Even while the Chargers’ cap sheet continued to be untenable following yesterday’s machinations, an Allen trade is still a shocking development. When asked last month about his future in Los Angeles, the receiver definitively stated he’d be back with the team in 2024. And as the organization navigated their impending cap crunch, reports indicated that the veteran wideout was the safest among the team’s four highest-paid players.

Instead, Allen’s tenure with the organization will end after 11 seasons. The receiver wasn’t able to catch former tight end Antonio Gates‘ many receiving records, but Allen will still leave the organization ranked second in receptions (904) and receiving yards (10,530) and third in touchdown receptions (59). The former third-round pick earned six Pro Bowl nods throughout his career with the Chargers, and he’s topped 1,000 receiving yards in five of his last seven seasons. This includes a 2023 campaign where the 31-year-old hauled in a career-high 108 catches for 1,243 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

After acquiring D.J. Moore last offseason, the Bears are making another splashy move at the position. The expectation is that the Bears will trade Justin Fields and select USC’s Caleb Williams with the first-overall pick, and they’re certainly preparing the incoming rookie for success. The Bears have also added running back D’Andre Swift and tight end Gerald Everett to the offense, providing their 2024 quarterback with plenty of worthy targets.

Regardless of who is under center next season, it shouldn’t take long for Allen to get acclimated. New Bears receivers coach Chris Beatty spent the previous three seasons with the Chargers, so the coaching staff surely knows what they have in the veteran acquisition.

Things aren’t nearly as rosy in Los Angeles. Justin Herbert has watched as his top two receivers (Allen, Williams), his top tight end (Everett), and his top running back (Austin Ekeler) have all left the organization this past week. The Chargers did use a first-round pick on Quentin Johnston last year, and the organization will surely be banking on a big season from the second-year pro. The Chargers are also armed with the fifth-overall pick in the draft. That might not be enough to draft someone like Marvin Harrison Jr., but the organization should still be able to snag one of the draft’s other elite WR prospects.

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