Now that the Los Angeles Chargers have their face of the franchise, the top priority will be signing Justin Herbert to a long-term contract, likely this offseason.
Yet general manager Tom Telesco knows doing so won’t come without hurdles, as the Chargers enter the offseason already $19 million over the 2023 salary cap, meaning players like Keenan Allen could be on the chopping block.
Daniel Popper of The Athletic recently listed the Chargers’ five-time Pro Bowl receiver as a “likely cap casualty” heading into the offseason. Cutting Allen, who’s set to be 31 next season, from the roster would save $14.8 million from their 2023 cap number.
It’s important to note that even if Allen is cut, he could simply be re-signed by the Chargers at a different salary rate, yet it’s not unreasonable for the 10-year pro to move on either. Allen played in just ten games last season as he battled a hamstring strain, and finished with 752 yards and four touchdowns, far below his 1,000-yard average.
Yet, as mentioned, he didn’t make it through the full season, and when healthy, Allen still averaged 75 yards per game, which is the third-best mark in his career, showing the North Carolina native’s talent hasn’t diminished.
Should Allen find himself on the open market this offseason, he’s sure to have plenty of suitors. Players with over 9,000 receiving yards and 50 touchdowns in their career don’t become available often. If Allen hits free agency or hits the trade block, these three teams should come calling for the former Cal star.
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New York Giants provide Daniel Jones with experienced receiver
The New York Giants are a team in prime position to strengthen their group of pass-catchers in some way or another this offseason. While they could just as easily take to the draft to address such needs, they could also feel the urgency of instantly improving a roster that was already strong enough to advance to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Imagine supplying Daniel Jones with a true No. 1 receiver for the next three years? Signing or trading for Allen could buy Brian Daboll more time as the team looks to identify their next alpha receiver capable of stealing the spotlight in the Big Apple. It could even happen as soon as this offseason. If so, having Allen and a thriving rookie wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
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Baltimore Ravens boost receiving corps with vet Pro Bowler
A team that has long needed to complement Lamar Jackson with established weapons, the Baltimore Ravens are always a threat to add to their receiver room. Yet convincing a player in the latter stages of his career to join a team that prefers to run first and pass second isn’t always easy.
There’s nothing suggesting Allen would be that player who sacrifices his numbers to join Baltimore’s effort to win a Super Bowl ring but being that Allen has won just two playoff games in his career, the Ravens could be attractive as a team expected to remain competitive as long as Jackson is in town.
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Keenan Allen joins AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs
Look away, Chargers fans. If you can’t beat them, join them, right? Playing in a competitive AFC West, Allen has reached the postseason just twice in his career. We can thank Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs for the Bolts’ struggles as of late, as Andy Reid’s crew has won the division crown for the past seven seasons.
Allen likely won’t be putting forth a career-best season in his 11th year, meaning he should do his best to capitalize on the prime seasons he does have left, even if that means spurning the only NFL fanbase he’s ever known, to join a division rival like the Chiefs. Besides, who wouldn’t want to catch passes from a potential future Hall of Fame QB like Mahomes, who could very well go on to become one of the greatest of all time?
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