Chargers get hefty price tag for likely Keenan Allen contract extension

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The LA Chargers have to execute several cap-saving measures this offseason to not only get under the NFL's salary cap but create enough space to pay a draft class and any incoming free agents. As it stands right now, the Chargers are $25.6 million over the salary cap and need to free up at least another $20 million on top of that figure.

One of the smartest cap-saving measures the team can take is extending Keenan Allen's contract past the 2024 season. Allen has one more year left on his deal and by signing an extension, the Chargers can convert some of his base salary this season into future bonus money.

Allen's base salary this season is $18.1 million so the Chargers can reasonably save up to $15 million depending on the terms of his new deal. Just how much the Chargers can push off to the future might depend on how much Allen's extension is worth, and thanks to Mike Evans, the Chargers may have their answer.

Chargers get hefty Keenan Allen price tag thanks to Mike Evans

Mike Evans' two-year, $52 million contract is far larger than any of the extension estimations for Keenan Allen this offseason. DeAndre Hopkins signed a two-year, $26 million contract with the Tennessee Titans last offseason and that felt like the likely price for Allen.

Allen is going to be closer to Evans' contract than he is going to be to Hopkins'. While Allen won't get as much as Evans, the two receivers are closer in value than some may think and that puts into perspective just how much Allen can demand from the Bolts.

Allen is a year and a half older than Evans, which does matter, and he was having a great season last year before the Chargers essentially shut him down. The Chargers' wideout was on a career-high pace in multiple categories and even finished with only 12 fewer yards than Evans had all year.

The best year of Evans' career at age 30 earned him a two-year, $52 million contract. The best year of Allen's career at age 31 will probably earn him something similar. Granted, there is no external competition as he is not a free agent like Evans is, but Allen's camp can use Evans' deal as ammunition in contract talks.

Following Evans' contract, it feels fair to start the conversation at two years for $40 million. Allen and his camp will likely push for higher, but it would be legitimately shocking if the Chargers can sign Allen for anything less than $20 million a year.

This limits how much the Chargers can reasonably push off as the team doesn't want to have a massive cap hit on a 34-year-old in three years. If this ends up being the price for Allen, the most the Chargers can likely save with an extension is $8-10 million.