The LA Chargers absolutely have to re-sign Keenan Allen.
The LA Chargers have a lot of players in the last year of their contracts in 2020. The most notable players that the Chargers are going to have to renegotiate after this season are Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry, Desmond King, Keenan Allen, Melvin Ingram and maybe even Tyrod Taylor.
The good thing is that the Chargers have very little on the books for the 2021 season and the cap is projected to rise (although with the current financial status of sports leagues that could change), so they should have enough to afford a few big extensions.
The team also has a quarterback on a rookie contract, which is extremely helpful. We have seen it time and time again: teams will stack rosters alongside young quarterbacks and take advantage of that rookie contract.
Because if Justin Herbert ends up balling out, come contract time, the Chargers are not going to be able to afford as many other luxuries.
There absolutely is a priority order when it comes to the impending free agents and I would make the case that Keenan Allen should be priority number one. Some may say Joey Bosa, but in reality, Allen should be prioritized before any other free agent.
Why Keenan Allen should be the LA Chargers’ number one priority:
There are several reasons. First, we have to look at the receiving corps outside of Allen moving forward.
While Mike Williams is very talented and should be groomed to be a WR1 one day, we still have not seen how he will progress without having a gunslinging quarterback throwing him constant deep routes.
With Taylor under center this season, the Chargers won’t see enough to fully buy into Williams as the WR1 moving forward. Plus, Williams is entering the fifth year of his contract in the 2021 season and the Chargers will have to pay him big after that anyway.
Personally, if you are going to pay big, I would rather pay Allen big first and make Williams prove/earn that next big contract.
It is going to be extremely hard to replace Allen if you lose him. The team would have to either bring in an outside option, which again, I would rather just pay for Allen, or spend yet another early-round pick on a receiver. While fans are excited about K.J. Hill and Joe Reed, we have not even seen them play in the NFL yet, so slow down on the “Hill can replace Allen” talk.
This is important when you have a young quarterback as the best thing you can do is surround him with as many weapons as possible. Look at how much better Jared Goff was when the Rams went out and got him more weapons to throw to.
Herbert is going to benefit so much from having that traditional WR1, especially one whose best trait is his route-running ability and creating separation. I could probably throw some passes to Keenan Allen for completions and that is because he just gets so open on a consistent basis.
Bosa has to take care of himself and we have already seen that he is willing to stare the Chargers down, as that is what he did for his rookie contract. The Chargers should absolutely be interesting in re-signing Bosa, but they cannot afford to get in some kind of bidding war while Allen walks away. Allen probably has a higher chance of re-signing for a slight discount than Bosa.
Edge rushers as good as Bosa are hard to find but the Chargers could find a solid one easier than an elite WR1. Every year the draft is filled with great edge rushers. 15 players had 10 or more sacks last season, only five had 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards (Allen being one).