WR Keenan Allen Addresses Chargers Departure

The past week has seen new Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz take major steps aimed at cleaning up the team’s salary cap situation. That effort included restructures for edge rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, along with the release of wideout Mike Williams. Franchise mainstay Keenan Allen was – to the surprise of many, including the six-time Pro Bowler himself – dealt to the Bears in another cost-shedding move.

[RELATED: Texans, Jets Were Interested In Allen Trade]

Los Angeles acquired a fourth-round pick from Chicago after approaching Allen about a pay cut. The 31-year-old declined, citing the strength of his statline from 2023. After expressing confidence he would remain in place for at least the 2024 season, Allen doubled down on the fact he was not expecting to be dealt during his introductory press conference on Saturday.

[I] obviously wanted to finish my career [with the Chargers], but things happen and you’ve got to keep on going,” Allen said. When asked about being asked to take a pay cut, he added, “there really was no emotion, it was, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. Came off my best season, so it’s not happening” (h/t NFL.com).

Indeed, Allen’s 95.6 yards per game from the 2023 campaign represent the highest figure of his decorated career. He was limited to 13 contests, but still managed to set a new personal mark in receptions (108) and yards (1,243). While a cap hit of over $34MM would have been challenging to absorb had the Chargers elected to keep him, their decision to cut Williams and re-work the Mack and Bosa pacts would have made it doable. Now, the WR spot faces a number of questions entering 2024 for Los Angeles.

For the Bears, Allen’s arrival will give the team a high-profile tandem alongside vertical threat D.J. Moore. Chicago has also added running back D’Andre Swift as well as tight end Gerald Everett to a new-look skill position room. The new arrivals (along with OC Shane Waldron, hired as Luke Getsy‘s replacement) will be tasked with helping a rookie quarterback improve on the offense’s poor showing from 2023. Maintaining his strong play on third down in particular would go a long way to achieving that goal in Allen’s case.

One year remains on the Cal alum’s contract, so he will have plenty of motivation to thrive in the Windy City in his debut season with the Bears. After seeing his 11-year Chargers tenure come to an end, it will be interesting to see how long he winds up playing in Chicago.

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