Caleb Williams Reacts to Bears Blockbuster Trade for Keenan Allen

Caleb Williams Reaction Keenan Allen Trade Bears News

Getty Quarterback Caleb Williams could be the No. 1 overall pick for the Bears in 2024.

The Chicago Bears made an aggressive, win-now move late on March 14 when they traded for six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen, and their potential quarterback of the future — Caleb Williams — has taken notice.

The Bears officially traded a 2024 fourth-round pick (No. 111 overall) to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night in exchange for Allen, who must still pass a physical before the trade becomes finalized. He has 904 career receptions and 10,530 career receiving yards, making him one of the most accomplished pass-catchers Chicago has ever had.

Allen turns 32 in April, but he is one of the best route tacticians in the league. He is also coming off one of the finest seasons of his 11-year career, catching 108 passes for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns for the Chargers in 2023. With DJ Moore on the other side of him in Chicago, he could potentially give the Bears a top-five receiving duo in 2024.

That’s something Williams likes — literally, as he liked a post from NFL running back Jaret Patterson on X in which he talked up Allen and called the deal “crazy.”

“Crazy.. The best route runner I seen with my own eyes!!” Patterson wrote about Allen in a repost of the NFL’s official report about the deal between the Bears and Chargers.

Williams will likely have something more direct to say about the Bears acquiring Allen if the team ultimately takes him with the No. 1 overall pick in next months’ NFL draft. For now, though, it seems the Bears at least have his stamp of approval on the trade.

Keenan Allen Trade Shows Bears Are Ready to Win

The Bears could also be trying to tell Williams something about their intentions with their move for Allen. Last month at the 2024 NFL Combine, a reporter asked Williams what he wanted to find out about the Bears and general manager Ryan Poles before they potentially draft him at No. 1 overall in the 2024 draft. He had just one question.

“Just, do you want to win?” Williams said. “That’s it.”

The Bears are certainly giving the impression that they want to win and win now.

Poles has been steadily building up the Bears’ roster with young talent over the past two seasons, focusing on drafting long-term contributors and signing key veterans such as Tremaine Edmunds, Montez Sweat, Jaylon Johnson and Cole Kmet to long-term deals. His decision to trade for Allen and his $23.1 million cap hit, though, is a move that suggests he believes the team is ready to be serious contenders for the 2024 season.

The Bears have also made a few other win-now moves over the past week. They signed veteran running back D’Andre Swift to a three-year, $24 million contract with two other capable backs already on their roster, a luxury they passed on last offseason. They also added another goal-line threat in tight end Gerald Everett, another position where they opted for a cheaper, one-year arrangement in 2023 instead of a bigger-money solution.

The Bears still have work to do, but the roster is far more capable than it was a year ago.

What Other Roster Needs Must Bears Still Address?

The Bears now have a more complete roster after the first wave of 2024 free agency, but there are still a few positions where they could stand to add talent or make upgrades.

The biggest one is pass rusher. The Bears acquired Sweat to anchor their defensive line at last year’s trade deadline, but they are still missing a quality partner for him on the other side. Fortunately, they will have a good opportunity to find one with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2024 draft, especially now that getting a receiver is less of a priority. Alabama’s Dallas Turner or Florida State’s Jared Verse would both be fine choices.

The Bears also probably still need to add another wide receiver either in free agency or the draft. They have two veteran starters now in Moore and Allen and could be eyeing 2023 fourth-rounder Tyler Scott as their starting slot receiver next season, but the depth otherwise consists of Velus Jones Jr. and some practice-squad floaters. A rookie — or a less expensive veteran like Josh Reynolds — could tie together the unit.

The Bears might also look to add at offensive tackle and defensive tackle. Chicago might have its two starting tackles in Braxton Jones and Darnell Wright, but the right tackle falling to them at No. 9 — such as Notre Dame’s Joe Alt — could prompt them to take another big swing. The same thing goes for the three-technique role. The Bears have candidates, such as Gervon Dexter Sr., but a bigger swing could still make sense.

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