3. The market for Keenan Allen is going to be small
There are plenty of teams that would love to have Keenan Allen in their offense. He is one of the best wide receivers in the league and is such an elite route-runner that he could plug into literally any offense and be a big difference-maker.
While Allen’s market should be huge on paper, in all reality, the LA Chargers are not going to have much competition in bringing Allen back. Now, that does not mean that the team should leverage that and try to undercut Allen, but when you look at it, it is hard to find a team that is going to pry Allen away from LA.
The NFL and NFLPA recently agreed that the league is going to spread potential revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic across multiple seasons and that the absolute lowest that the cap will be in 2021 is $175 million. It could be higher if revenue is better than anticipated.
According to Spotrac, the Chargers have the fifth-most cap space for the 2021 season with a projected $27.8 million in cap room if the salary cap is $175 million. That is the absolute least that the Chargers will have.
It can get even more than that by cutting players that are in the last year of their contracts or by utilizing outs on existing contracts (such as Chris Harris’ if he does not play well). The Chargers will likely end up with over $30 million in cap space, giving them the $20 million to pay Allen and still have room for draft picks.
It might make the cap tight for a year but the team has another $57 million being freed off the books after the 2021 season, so they certainly have the long-term cap to make it work.
There are four teams that have more projected cap space than the Chargers: the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.
I do not see Allen leaving a potential contender in the Chargers (as long as the Bolts give him a good offer, which as we outlined, they will) for a poor team like the Jaguars or Jets. The Patriots are not going to spend that much on an out-of-house receiver.
The Colts are the only team that is a threat if they want to replace T.Y. Hilton with Keenan Allen. However, they are also going to have to figure out their quarterback position, potentially pay Marlon Mack and save money for the offensive line in the very near future.
They are the biggest threat but I do not think they break the bank for Allen.
The rest of the teams, like the LA Chargers, are going to be pinched more than expected and simply do not have the funds to splurge on a big-name free-agent wide receiver. So in actuality, the cap hit helps the Chargers with Allen as it diminished the market.