Keeping Keenan Allen should not prevent Chargers from drafting a WR early

Alexander Insdorf
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On Wednesday, Tom Telesco came out with his most forthright statement on Keenan Allen's status with the Chargers to date:

Telesco's quotes at the combine likened Allen to Charlie Joiner and Andre Reed. He also reiterated once again that there was never any thought about moving on from the five-time Pro-Bowler heading into his age 31 season.

The Chargers' general manager also gave an endorsement to the wide receiver trio of Allen, Mike Williams, and Joshua Palmer. "He's (Allen) with us, between him, Mike Williams, and Josh Palmer, we think that's a great three receivers for our quarterback."

Despite Allen and maybe all of the top three Chargers' receivers being in place for 2023, they shouldn't stop scouring the early rounds of the draft for a wide receiver.

Why the Chargers can still draft a WR early with Keenan Allen:

1. Rookie receiver contract are really valuable

The rules here are pretty simple. Draft a wide receiver in the first round and that's five years of cost control right there. Draft one in the second or third and that's still four years of contract control under a rookie wage scale that's not as favorable to incoming players as it once was.

The Chargers' overall cap situation and what it'll be over the next number of years is tight with the team trying to keep their high-cost talents. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are projected to have $20 million+ cap hits over the next two years. Having two more years of a cost-controlled Palmer plus a cheap first-round talent for five years gives them more flexibility than they currently have.

Not to mention, they'll need flexibility. Telesco has alluded to paying Herbert several times this week and none of Allen, Williams, or Palmer are under contract in 2025, the first year of Herbert's eventual extension. A cheap day one or day two WR talent being on the books for a large portion of #10's megadeal could be a huge value win for the Chargers if the pick pans out.