Keenan Allen at the 2024 Pro Bowl. Feb 4, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; AFC wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) of the Los Angeles Chargers attempts to make a catch during the 2024 Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Chicago Bears made a big splash, trading a fourth-round pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for receiver Keenan Allen. The 31-year-old Allen was coming off a 108-reception, 1,243-yard, seven-touchdown season (in just 13 games) and a Pro Bowl selection, but was entering the final year of a four-year $80 million contract with a $34.7 million cap hit. And the Chargers were in a difficult salary cap situation overall and had made many moves around that, so many reports around that trade discussed it largely being for cap purposes. And in a press conference Saturday, Allen said the team asked him to take a pay cut to stay, but it was an easy call for him to decline that:

That’s understandable from Allen, as this was his 11th season in the league (all with the Chargers’ franchise, first in San Diego, then in Los Angeles). And it was by far his most productive on a yards-per-game basis (95.6; his next best was 90.6 yards per game in 2015.) It was also his second-best season in raw yardage, behind only the 1,393 yards he posted in 2017. So taking a pay cut after that could have been a tough pill to swallow. And the trade will let him keep making that much.

There are risks ahead for Allen, though. He’s going from a settled quarterback position with Justin Herbert to a very unsettled one in Chicago. There, it looks like the Bears will draft Caleb Williams and trade Justin Fields, but that’s not for sure yet.

But Allen did say in his press conference Saturday that his experience the last few years with Herbert (who the Chargers drafted sixth overall in 2020) makes him comfortable with a rookie quarterback if that’s the way the team winds up going. We’ll see how playing in Chicago works out for him.

[Pro Football Talk]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.