Chargers GM reveals heartbreaking development around Keenan Allen trade

Miami Dolphins v Los Angeles Chargers
Miami Dolphins v Los Angeles Chargers / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

It has been a week since the LA Chargers made the most surprising and heartbreaking move of the offseason. Even though the team had already become cap-compliant, Los Angeles traded Keenan Allen to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick and over $20 million in cap space.

Not only was Allen a massive fan favorite, but trading him resulted in the Chargers having one of the worst wide receiver rooms in the sport. Suddenly, the new Chargers regime that the fanbase loved turned sour, with many fans upset over the move.

New general manager Joe Hortiz spoke to the media for the first time since the trade on Thursday and offered an explanation of what happened with Allen. According to Hortiz' account, the team tried multiple avenues to retain Allen, including a contract extension.

Joe Hortiz reveals Keenan Allen turned down contract extension from the Chargers

It was previously reported that Allen rejected a pay cut from the Chargers that would have restructured his contract in a similar way as Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa. Allen had a stone-cold message to his former team when asked about this overture during his introductory press conference with the Bears. It really appeared that the Chargers simply asked Allen to take a pay cut after his best season.

But according to Hortiz, the team was actually trying to lock him up for more years with an extension. By signing an extension, the Chargers could have converted some of his $16.1 million base salary in future bonuses, smoothing out the cap hit over the course of the extension.

The exact details of the extension are unknown but it obviously did not come at the dollar figure that Allen was looking for. Because of his age and some injury concerns, a fair extension would have been in the ballpark of DeAndre Hopkins' two-year, $26 million contract with the Tennessee Titans. With the cap going up, a two-year, $30 million contract was probably a fair extension.

The real wrench that may have messed up these plans is the extension Mike Evans signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Evans got two years for $52 million and is in a very similar position in his career as Allen. It is safe to assume that Allen's camp wanted something in that range, and obviously, the Chargers were not willing to reach that number.

Are the Chargers right for not wanting to pay Allen around $25 million a season (on top of the salary that would be turned into future bonuses)? Probably. At this price, Allen would have had a cap hit of around $30 million over the next two years, which is a huge risk for a player of his age.

It doesn't make the move any less heartbreaking for fans, but at least they now know that the team at least tried to lock him down for more years with an extension. At some point, the rubber has to meet the road and it ultimately did between Allen and the Chargers.

Now, to be fair, it still might have made more sense to just get rid of Joey Bosa or Khalil Mack, but that is a discussion for another day.