Recently traded Keenan Allen refused to take pay cut with Chargers: 'I just came off my best season'


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Keenan Allen would not be a Chicago Bear had he taken a pay cut.

But when the Los Angeles Chargers approached the Pro Bowl receiver about the idea, he refused.

The Chargers were on the hook for $23.1 million with Allen — $18.1 million in non-guaranteed salary and a $5 million roster bonus.

But Allen didn’t consider taking less money like ex-teammates Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack did.

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Keenan Allen vs Colts

Keenan Allen of the Los Angeles Chargers lines up against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Dec. 26, 2022, in Indianapolis. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

“It really was no emotion. It was, ‘I’m not doing it,’” Allen said at his introductory press conference Saturday. “‘I’m not doing it. I just came off my best season, so it’s not happening.'”

Despite missing four games, Allen’s 108 receptions were a career best. He racked up 1,243 receiving yards and found the end zone seven times, earning his sixth Pro Bowl nod in seven seasons.

The Bears acquired Allen, taking on the cap hit for a fourth-round pick. 

Allen’s new quarterback will likely be Caleb Williams after Chicago traded Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday.

Keenan allen after a catch

Keenan Allen of the Los Angeles Chargers signals for a first down during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium Sept. 24, 2023, in Minneapolis.  (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Los Angeles also released wide receiver Mike Williams this week, so it leaves them with Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston as their top two weapons on the outside. Austin Ekeler also left for the Washington Commanders in free agency.

It was a bad year for the Chargers. After making the playoffs in 2022, they fired head coach Brandon Staley midseason, and quarterback Justin Herbert was injured midway through the year.

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Los Angeles has the fifth pick in next month’s draft, and with Allen and Williams now gone, they are in line to take one of the top three wide receivers in Marvin Harrison, Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers.

Chicago, on the other hand, is presumably giving Williams a cast of top skill players, including receiver D.J. Moore, tight end Cole Kmet and recently signed running back D’Andre Swift. 

In his first year in Chicago, Moore had the best season of his career, putting up career highs with 96 receptions, 1,364 yards and eight touchdowns. Kmet had a career high of 73 catches for 719 yards.

Keenan Allen argues call

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen looks for a call from the referee against the Denver Broncos during the second half of a game Nov. 28, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

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The Bears also have the ninth selection in this year’s draft.

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