Keenan Allen sends stone-cold message to Chargers after Bears trade

Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans
Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

The LA Chargers made the most surprising move possible on Thursday and traded star wide receiver Keenan Allen to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick. Los Angeles had already become cap-compliant prior to the trade, so moving Allen really did come out of nowhere.

The Chargers restructured the contracts of both Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack with both players taking pay cuts to help the Chargers in their cost-cutting quest. Both players still got something out of it (more control of their future), but it did help the team out this year.

Allen was approached to do the same by the Chargers and he said no. While many expected the team to sign Allen to a multi-year extension to reduce his cap hit, the Chargers wanted him to take a pay cut. The veteran wide receiver declined, and shortly thereafter he was traded.

Allen was officially introduced by the Bears on Saturday morning and in addition to being asked a ton about Caleb Williams, Allen was asked about the contract situation with the Chargers before the trade went through. Allen's response was certainly stone-cold, as he was not going to give the Chargers what they wanted just because he played there for a decade.

Keenan Allen is right to turn down the Chargers' overtures

While some may look at this as Keenan Allen not being a team player (including the Chargers, it seems) he had every right to say no to the team. Allen already did the Chargers a favor last year by restructuring his contract and asking him to take a pay cut after his 2023 season is silly.

The 2023 season was the best year of Allen's career and he was on pace to be an All-Pro if he did not sit out the final four games of the season. If Justin Herbert never gets hurt then Allen likely plays those final four games, earns an All-Pro nod, and reminds everyone he is still one of the best wideouts in the game.

The most disappointing part about this is that the Chargers still did not need to trade Allen. Rewarding him with an extension certainly would have been a move that the fans welcomed with open arms. Or perhaps the Chargers could have afforded to part ways with one of the edge rushers instead considering they have Tuli Tuipulotu on the roster, knowing that Allen was an instrumental part of the passing offense.

The Chargers better hope that they really nail the fifth pick in the draft and that they can rebuild the wide receiver room quickly. If this newfound cap space and extra draft pick do not go to good use then the fanbase may quickly turn on this new front-office regime.

But hey, the NFL is a business and we all know this. As sad as it is to see Allen on another team, Chargers fans should be glad that he stood his ground. Unfortunately, the Chargers opted not to take care of their franchise cornerstone.