The LA Chargers have had an incredibly busy offseason and have loaded up with talent to compete with the loaded AFC West. While the biggest emphasis of this offseason is to improve the roster and capitalize on a rookie quarterback contract Super Bowl window, some have turned to the idea of the team trading Keenan Allen.
That's right, the same Keenan Allen who is likely going to go down as the best receiver in franchise history when it is all said and done. Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show on Friday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager brought up the possibility of the Green Bay Packers calling for Keenan Allen after trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.
To be fair to Schrager, he was not reporting that either side is even interesting in a deal and was purely speculating about receivers that Green Bay could inquire about. Some Chargers fans on social media took that and ran with it, though, and there has been a legitimate debate about whether or not the team trading Allen is a smart idea.
It isn't. The LA Chargers would be foolish to even consider a Keenan Allen trade.
Those arguing for the Chargers trading Allen are bringing up his age, contract hit and the future contracts that the team is going to give out to Derwin James and Justin Herbert. While I understand the other point of view, there really is not a good reason for the team to trade Allen.
First, let's talk about his age. Yes, Allen is 30 and there is a good chance that he is past his prime as an NFL receiver. However, because of the type of receiver that Allen is, we are not going to see this tremendous drop-off in his production. Sure, he might not be at his prime, but he might be at 90% of his prime for another three years which is still a top-10/15 receiver in the NFL.
Heck, even at the age of 30 last year Allen was still the best receiver in the league in getting open against man coverage. Counting stats be damned.
Allen is under contract for three more years but the way it is structured the team can get out of it if needed in either of the next two years. He would carry a dead-cap hit of $5.4 million next season and $2.7 million the following year. If the worst-case scenario happens and Allen has the biggest regression in NFL history then they can get out of the deal.
It is not like his contract will restrict the team from making other moves, either. The salary cap is expected to climb around $260-270 million by the 2024 season. Those jumps alone create the space for the Chargers to extend Derwin James and Justin Herbert.
The idea of getting premium draft capital for Allen may seem enticing. If a team offered a first-round pick this year with a future conditional first that may seem like enough. On paper, the Chargers could just replace Allen with one of the younger receivers in the first round and it will be just fine.
Again, on paper that makes sense. In reality, it doesn't. Yes, there are guys like Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson that break out into the league. But there are also guys like Hollywood Brown, Jalen Reagor, Henry Ruggs, John Ross, K'Neal Harry, Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, John Doctson... you get the picture.
Just imagine if the Chargers traded Allen and drafted a first-round receiver only for that first-round receiver to be another K'Neal Harry. That would be a disaster.
And finally, the most important point that negates anything else you can say about trading Allen: Justin Herbert. The LA Chargers have a true Super Bowl window because Justin Herbert is their quarterback. It is the same argument that I had with Williams that I have about this: a team doesn't get rid of premium offensive talent when they have an elite quarterback on his rookie deal.
That would be the most counter-intuitive thing that an NFL franchise can do.