If WR Keenan Allen Becomes Available, Bears Should Make a Call

Social Navigation

WR Keenan Allen Could Become a Chargers Cap Casualty … Just Sayin’

Chicago Bears

Over at The Athletic, Daniel Popper writes about the Los Angeles Chargers as a team that is up against it when it comes to the cap.

Think back to a year ago at this time. The Chargers were one of the “it” teams in the league. They spent a bunch of money to round out the roster around quarterback Justin Herbert while he was on his rookie deal. And let’s not forget they sent a second-round pick to the Bears to acquire Khalil Mack in an attempt to fortify the defense. But a year later, the return on investment being a playoff appearance without a win might have L.A.’s other team re-thinking things.

In short, they’ll need to be progressive in creating cap space to keep things humming along. And one player who could end up a cap casualty is wide receiver Keenan Allen.

Popper lays out six cuts that could save the Chargers the most cap space, with an Allen release creating the most space. He even goes as far as to say that an Allen cut is among “the most likely.” And if that is how the cookie crumbles, the Bears should be all over it.

OK, so Allen, 30, is older than some of the other receivers the Bears might otherwise be targeting. Plus, he is coming off an injury-shortened season in which he was limited to 66 catches, 752 yards, and 4 touchdowns. But Allen came into the year having made five consecutive Pro Bowls, putting up four seasons with at least 1,100 receiving yards, and scoring 32 touchdowns over 78 games in that span. That is a true WR1 — and the type of player the Bears should be willing to make moves in order to bring into the building.

But how?

Watch out for cuts!

Cutting Allen would be a bitter pill to swallow. However, it could be a helpful one as the team enters the offseason more than $20 million *OVER* the salary cap, per OverTheCap.com’s calculations. An Allen cut would create $14.8 million in cap space, which would do wonders for that cap situation. Moreover, a post-June 1 designation on the cut would be even more beneficial for the Chargers, as it would create $17.5 million in cap space — but there is $2.7 million they’d be unable to use until after June 1. Nevertheless, that would be a good place to start for a team trying to dig out.

It probably isn’t what the Chargers want to do. But business is business and the Chargers have tough decisions to make.

Then again, a cut isn’t the only possibility the Chargers could explore.

Let’s make a deal

Last year, the Bears began their cap-clearing adventure by trading Khalil Mack to the Chargers. And as Popper’s piece points out, trading Allen before June 1 would create $16.3 million in cap space. But the challenge here would be to find a team willing to swing a deal to take on what is left of Allen’s contract (he won’t be a free agent until after the 2024 season) and give up draft capital for a player who might end up on the cutting block.

Nevertheless, it is an option. Perhaps it is one that the Bears might have to begrudgingly have to travel down in order to jump the market to get Allen.

In the End

As you would expect from any overly obsessive Bears fan, I have been spending a lot of time browsing through NFL free-agent lists. The league’s “legal tampering” period begins in 35 days, while the signing period starts two days after that. In other words, now is a good time to start cramming your eyeballs with free-agent options before the big day comes. But Allen’s potential arrival onto the market would be a game-changer.

Allen would instantly become the best receiver available. One whose presence could elevate Justin Fields’ game due to his skills as a route-runner and ability to create separation. We can chop it up and discuss any set of stats in dissecting receiver fits. But a top priority should be finding receivers who create separation. Allen has been good at that for a while. Hence, my interest in the Bears’ kicking the tires on him should a cap-strapped Chargers team make him available.

With that being said, we should keep an eye on that as this offseason chugs along.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.