Keenan Allen

Chargers WR Keenan Allen Cleared For OTAs

Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has been cleared for organized team activities as he continues to recover from a torn ACL, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. Allen, who suffered his knee injury during the first game of the 2016 season, is now ahead of schedule, but Los Angeles is still using a “cautious approach,” per Williams.Keenan Allen (Vertical)

“It was good to see [Allen] back,” head coach Anthony Lynn said. “He’s been released by the doctors, so he’s full go. We’re just working him in a little bit at a time.”

While Allen has been a force when on the field, he’s appeared in only nine games over the past two seasons due to injury. In 2015, Allen had already managed 67 receptions, 725 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in eight contests before going down with a lacerated kidney. Still only 25 years old, Allen is signed through the 2020 season after inking a four-year, $45MM extension last summer.

While the Chargers may not have another receiver of Allen’s caliber on the roster in the event that he is forced to miss time, Los Angeles has acquired an enviable amount of depth at the wideout position. The Chargers used the seventh overall pick on Clemson pass-catcher Mike Williams, who will team with Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and Travis Benjamin as the Bolts’ wide receivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Officially Place Keenan Allen On IR

Keenan Allen‘s season is already over. The Chargers announced that they have officially placed their best wide receiver on IR. In a related move, the Chargers have activated defensive end Joey Bosa to their 53-man roster.Keenan Allen (Vertical)

Allen suffered what was feared to be a torn ACL on Sunday. Today, those fears were confirmed by an MRI. Without Allen, the Chargers are without their top receiving weapon and that is especially devastating since Stevie Johnson is already on IR. Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman, and Isaiah Burse will be asked to pick up the slack at receiver. Of course, tight end Antonio Gates can expect to see more targets as well.

We expect the Chargers to explore free agent options and the list of available veterans includes names such as Brian Hartline, Roddy White, and Aaron Dobson. Of course, none of those players can match the skill set of a healthy Allen, but beggars can’t be choosers.

If there is one silver lining here, it is that Allen’s other ligaments are intact, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That will make rehab a bit easier for the 24-year-old.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Allen, DeCastro, Osweiler, RG3

The Chargers are not yet ready to confirm a torn-ACL diagnosis for Keenan Allen, but Mike McCoy acknowledged there is speculation about that likely season-ending injury, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets.

The fourth-year wideout who signed a four-year, $45MM extension this summer will have an MRI done on Monday. But the widespread notion remains the Bolts’ No. 1 target will join Stevie Johnson on IR.

San Diego, which has two wideouts on its practice squad, could opt to bring back James Jones, whom the team cut after signing him following the Johnson injury. Or, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out, the Chargers could look at other available wideouts like Roddy White, Brian Hartline or Aaron Dobson. Florio also posits the Chargers could attempt to trade for Josh Gordon, given that they’ve lost two of their top four targets over the past several weeks.

Here’s the latest from around the AFC as Week 1 moves into its Sunday-night game.

  • Signed to a five-year, $50MM deal earlier this week, Steelers All-Pro guard David DeCastro called the commitment “a weight off his shoulders,” according to Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The fifth-year guard who was previously entering a contract year also said he would have considered other options had the Steelers and his camp not come together on the extension. “I tried not to think about it early on, but I was really hoping I could stay here,” he said. “Obviously, when we were getting close, it was harder to push back. Now we can move forward and worry about what’s important.”
  • Robert Griffin III said he sprained his shoulder during the Browns‘ 29-10 loss to the Eagles today. “I can move my left arm. I’m in pain, but it will be OK, just have to monitor it,” Griffin said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We’ll see more tomorrow and see how my shoulder is feeling and just move on from there.” Griffin, who made his first start since 2014 on Sunday, finished the game and expects to play in Week 2.
  • Texans owner Bob McNair gave new starter Brock Osweiler a glowing endorsement today after the Texans’ Week 1 win over the Bears. “I think he’s everything we thought he would be,” McNair said via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “He performed under pressure. Several times he escaped. He completed some passes after getting pressure. He has good composure and he’s poised.” The fifth-year passer and recipient of a four-year, $72MM deal completed 22-of-35 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his Houston debut.
  • The Patriots‘ clearing out $2.8MM in cap space thanks to Devin McCourty‘s restructure will help them retain their key defenders playing on expiring contracts, Doug Kyed of NESN.com writes. An in-season extension for impending UFA Dont’a Hightower, thus lowering his $7.75MM 2016 cap hit, would be a way to help the Patriots sign both 2017 UFA Jamie Collins and RFA Malcolm Butler, Kyed offers. New England possesses more than $11MM in cap space for 2016 and stands to possess more than $60MM come 2017. Jabaal Sheard, Logan Ryan and Sebastian Vollmer join Hightower and Collins as key UFAs for the seven-time defending AFC East champions.

Keenan Allen Suffers Likely Torn ACL

For the second consecutive season, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen‘s season has been cut short by a major injury. Initial tests show that Allen has likely suffered a torn ACL, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Video of the play can be viewed here, courtesy of Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports.Keenan Allen (Vertical)

[RELATED: Philip Rivers Restructures Contract]

Allen, who signed a four-year, $45MM extension earlier this year, has been a force since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2013, and is still only 24 years old. After topping 1,000 yards receiving and scoring eight touchdowns during his rookie campaign, Allen came back down to earth in 2014, but was on pace for the best season of his career last year. With 67 receptions and 725 yards under his belt through only eight games, Allen suffered a lacerated kidney and was forced to miss the rest of the campaign.

The Chargers had already lost another member of their pass-catching corps, as Steve Johnson is done for the year after tearing his meniscus in August. As such, San Diego’s depth chart will now see free agent signee Travis Benjamin at the top, followed by Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and Isaiah Burse. The club has two WRs on its practice squad in Jonathan Krause and Dom Williams that could conceivably be promoted, or the Chargers could turn to the free agent market for help.

One intriguing option for the Bolts may be James Jones, who spent time with the club this summer before being released. Seyi Ajirotutu and Vincent Brown also have a history with the Chargers, but neither is likely to make much of an impact. Veterans such as Roddy White and Nate Washington are available, but the free agent with the highest upside is probably Rueben Randle, who was released by the Eagles last month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers

The contract extensions the Cardinals awarded quarterback Carson Palmer and future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald on Friday extend the team’s Super Bowl window beyond this season, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com contends. As an added benefit, the Cardinals now have extra time to find a successor to the 36-year-old Palmer, and they no longer have to worry about losing two of their top wideouts – Fitzgerald and free agent-to-be Michael Floyd – at season’s end. Worst-case scenario, the Cardinals’ receiving corps will still contain Fitzgerald and John Brown in 2017.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Palmer’s deal with the Cardinals features a $6.75MM signing bonus and fully guarantees his $15.5MM salary and bonus for 2017, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. On the other hand, neither Palmer’s $12.5MM salary nor $1.5MM roster bonus for 2018 are guaranteed.
  • The Chiefs‘ signing of Nick Foles has no impact on Alex Smith‘s short- or long-term future with the club, according to head coach Andy Reid (via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com). “It’s Alex’s football team,” Reid said. “Nick knows that it’s Alex’s team. Alex knows it’s Alex’s team.” Foles, who was next to Reid, echoed that sentiment. Smith is under contract through 2018 after signing a four-year extension in September 2014.
  • The four-year extension the Chargers gave receiver Keenan Allen in June is the team’s best deal, opines Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap. Allen’s contract is worth $45MM, including $20.7MM in guarantees, which Fitzgerald regards as a bargain for a 24-year-old who has averaged 93 catches, 1,104 yards and seven touchdowns per 16 games during his three seasons in the NFL. Conversely, the four-year, $28MM pact the Chargers handed left tackle King Dunlap last offseason is their worst, writes Fitzgerald, who argues the Bolts made an unnecessary commitment (including $8.5MM in guarantees) to a player who only should’ve been a stopgap.
  • In other Friday news, Oakland waived pass rusher Damontre Moore, San Francisco lost receiver Eric Rogers for the season and Kansas City agreed to a deal with safety Jeron Johnson.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Chargers, Keenan Allen Agree To Extension

One year ago, the Chargers locked up quarterback Philip Rivers. Over the weekend, the Bolts extended one of his top targets.

Keenan Allen (Vertical)Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Chargers have agreed to a four-year extension with wideout Keenan Allen. NFL Network’s Rand Getlin tweets that the deal is worth $45MM, with at least $24MM in guaranteed money, including a $9.5MM signing bonus. ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan writes that the deal is expected to be “finalized and signed” in the coming days. The team confirmed the agreement on their website.

This is quite the pay increase for Allen, as the former third-round pick signed a four-year, $2.8MM contract after being drafted in 2013. Since that time, the 24-year-old has established himself as one of Rivers’ favorite wide receivers. The former California Golden Bear compiled 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns during his rookie season, and he followed that up with a 77-catch campaign in 2014. Allen was on track to set several career-highs in 2015 before a kidney laceration ended his season.

Allen will receive $21.656MM fully guaranteed, which includes his 2016 base salary of $1.656MM, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The deal also includes another $2.5MM in injury guarantees, tweets Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Allen can earn $2MM for 2019 if he catches 90 passes and the Chargers make the postseason or if he catches 100 passes and the club wins eight games in 2016, 2017, or 2018. For 2020, Allen can make $2MM if, after unlocking the extra $2MM for 2019, he reaches 90 catches and San Diego makes the playoffs, or he logs 80 catches and the team reaches eight wins, before the 2020 season.

Having been eligible for an extension since March, Gehlken notes that the two sides have been working on a new contract since the conclusion of the NFL draft. A five-year deal was reportedly discussed, but the current deal will allow Allen to hit free agency before he turns 30-years-old. A presumed $11MM annual salary would rank eighth in the league among receivers, tied with Larry Fitzgerald and Jeremy Maclin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Keenan Allen, Chargers Discussing Extension

TUESDAY, 6:09pm: The Chargers are offering Allen more than $10MM annually, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link), who adds that the two sides aren’t all that far apart in talks.

MONDAY, 7:57pm: The Chargers are exploring a long-term deal with wide receiver Keenan Allen, sources tell Connor Orr of NFL.com. Allen and the club are interested in working out an accord with a length of four or five years, according to Orr.Keenan Allen (Vertical)

Extension talks between San Diego and Allen have been rumored for some time, as Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in March that the club was expected to reach out to its star pass-catcher following once free agency and the draft concluded. Both those markers have passed, of course, but Gehlken tweets today that the situation is “still developing,” indicating that it’s too soon to say whether these negotiations will result in a deal.

Allen has been a force since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2013, and is still only 24 years old. After topping 1,000 yards receiving and scoring eight touchdowns during his rookie campaign, Allen came back down to earth in 2014, but was on pace for the best season of his career last year. With 67 receptions and 725 yards under his belt through only eight games, Allen suffered a lacerated kidney and was forced to miss the rest of the campaign. He’s expected to be fully healthy for the 2016 season, but it’s easy to wonder what might have been.

Given his career stats, Allen’s camp is sure to ask — at a minimum — to match the four-year, $40MM extension inked by Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns last week. Hurns and Allen are the same age, but Allen could surely argue that he’s worth more than than Jacksonville pass-catcher. An $11MM annual salary, making Allen the eighth-highest paid receiver in the NFL, isn’t out of the question, and the Chargers star should also top $20MM in guarantees.

Were the two sides to reach an impasse between now and next spring, the Chargers could hold the franchise tag over Allen’s head, allowing them to control him for one more season (at least). The wide receiver franchise figure was $14.599MM in 2015, so San Diego would need to be willing to carry a cap charge north of $15MM in order to retain Allen if it goes down that road.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Browner, Broncos, Cards, Allen

The Seahawks and the newly reacquired Brandon Browner set in motion Sunday’s signing with a back-and-forth negotiation that lasted “a while,” Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports.

Seattle entered Sunday with $5.6MM in cap space, although terms of Browner’s deal with the Seahawks haven’t been disclosed. Browner’s agent tells Condotta the Seahawks were priced out of Browner’s negotiations after their Super Bowl XLVIII victory, and the veteran went on to spend 2014 with the Patriots and 2015 with the Saints.

That was more of a (salary) cap issue,” Peter Schaffer told Condotta. “Brandon was going to get more money then they had. … it wasn’t like ‘we don’t want him back’ but like ‘shoot, if you are going to get that kind of money there’s no way we can afford him.”

The Pats ended up signing Browner, who will turn 32 in August, to a three-year, $12.35MM contract. This one-year pact with the Seahawks won’t be as pricey, especially after the Saints released Browner earlier this offseason. Pro Football Focus’ worst full-time corner in 2015, Browner revealed last month he’d played last season on a torn meniscus. Schaffer said Browner will be healthy for the ’16 season, and the Seahawks saw value in a healthy Browner coming off a down year.

Here’s some more from the teams out west, beginning with an unlikely pre-draft visit.

  • The Cardinals recently met with University of Calgary cornerback Elie Bouka, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports. Chiefs officials also contacted the corner, who plans to work out for other teams as the draft approaches. The 6-foot-1 Bouka missed the 2015 season with a torn left Achilles. Bouka initially signed with Weber State on 2011 national signing day but backed out after a coaching change.
  • Duke wideout Max McCaffrey worked out for the Broncos on Tuesday at the team’s local pro day, as did Colorado State receiver Joe Hansley, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reports. McCaffrey was eligible for the Super Bowl champions’ showcase for local prospects due to residing in the Denver area. The son of former Broncos wideout Ed McCaffrey and older brother of Heisman Trophy finalist and likely 2017 draft prospect Christian McCaffrey, Max ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the Blue Devils’ pro day last month.
  • Denver plans to give 2015 second-round pick Ty Sambrailo a long look at guard, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. Sambrailo started three games as the Broncos’ left tackle last season after moving from the right-edge post he was supposed to occupy just after Ryan Clady was lost for the season. Pro Football Focus tabbed Sambrailo as a low-end tackle in his three starts, but the Super Bowl champions have an opening at guard after losing Evan Mathis to the Cardinals and cutting Louis Vasquez.
  • Russell Okung won’t participate in these workouts, per Renck, as he rehabs from offseason shoulder surgery. Okung signed a nonguaranteed contract with the Broncos in March, a deal that includes a $1MM workout bonus. Okung doesn’t have to participate fully in the Broncos’ workouts to collect that sum, only do report and do what he’s able to.
  • Keenan Allen will be full-go when the Chargers open their offseason workouts Monday after missing eight games last season with a lacerated kidney, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The fourth-year player also plans to shed some weight coming into the season, hoping to move down to around 200 pounds.

Extra Points: Eagles, Jeff Allen, Keenan Allen

Here’s the latest from around the NFL as we draw closer to free agency:

  • The Eagles, who desperately need help at guard, are targeting Chiefs pending free agent Jeff Allen, reports Les Bowen of Philly.com. Given Allen’s connection to new Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who was previously Kansas City’s offensive coordinator, this news comes as no surprise.
  • The Packers’ James Jones, set to be part of the upcoming class of free agent receivers, is confused that he isn’t generating much buzz after totaling 50 catches, averaging a tremendous 17.8 yards per reception, and amassing eight touchdowns last season. “I’m hearing a lot of these receivers names being called and people are trying to brush over my name, and I had one of the best seasons out of all these guys that are free agents,” the 31-year-old said. On re-signing with Green Bay, he added, “I was hoping it would go be back to Green Bay, but I don’t know what’s going to happen” (link via Conor Orr of NFL.com).
  • Once free agency and the draft are out of the way, the Chargers will initiate extension talks with contract-year wideout Keenan Allen, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Even if the the Chargers drag their feet on giving Allen a new deal, he has no intention of holding out, per Gehlken. The soon-to-be 24-year-old racked up a whopping 67 catches in just eight games last season. That followed back-to-back 70-reception seasons in his first two years.
  • First-year Titans general manager Jon Robinson said Friday that his offseason focus lies with improving the team’s offensive line, acquiring offensive playmakers, and adding “players who can help us get off the field on third down on defense,’’ per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com.
  • The chances of pending free agent defensive backs Josh Robinson and Robert Blanton returning to the Vikings are “not good,” according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Robinson played in five games last season and wasn’t a factor. Blanton suited up for all 16 games, but appeared in just 21.5% of the Vikings’ defensive snaps.

2016 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure is projected to be $1.696MM in 2016. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2016 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:Keenan Allen (Vertical)

49ers: Gerald Hodges, LB

Bears: Marquess Wilson, WR

Buccaneers: William Gholston, DE; Mike Glennon, QB; Akeem Spence, DT

Cardinals: Andre Ellington, RB; Tyrann Mathieu, CB/S; Alex Okafor, LB

Chargers: Keenan Allen, WR

Colts: Sio Moore, LB; Hugh Thornton, G

Cowboys: J.J. Wilcox, S; Terrance Williams, WR

Dolphins: Jelani Jenkins, LB; Dallas Thomas, T; Dion Sims, TE; Kenny Stills, WR

Eagles: Bennie Logan, DT

Falcons: Kemal Ishmael, S; Levine Toilolo, TE

Jaguars: Josh Evans, S; Dwayne Gratz, CB

Jets: Brian Winters, G

Lions: Larry Warford, G

Packers: David Bakhtiari, T; Micah Hyde, S

Patriots: Duron Harmon, S; Chris Jones, DT; Logan Ryan, CB

Raiders: Mychal Rivera, TE

Rams: T.J. McDonald, S

Ravens: Ricky Wagner, T; Brandon Williams, DT

Saints: Terron Armstead, T; John Jenkins, DT

Seahawks: Luke Willson, TE

Steelers: Markus Wheaton, WR

Titans: Brian Schwenke, C

Washington: Jordan Reed, TE