Keenan Allen Sends Message on Caleb Williams, Future With Bears

Keenan Allen Trade Caleb Williams Future Bears News

Getty New Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen.

Keenan Allen arrives in Chicago with just one more year left on his current contract, but the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver isn’t shying away from the fact that he hopes to stay with the Bears for the long term.

Allen discussed his hopes for his future on March 16 while meeting with media for the first time since the blockbuster trade that brought him from Los Angeles to Chicago. Two days earlier, the Bears had shipped a 2024 fourth-round pick to the Chargers in exchange for his services, moving him away from the only team he knew in 11 years.

Now, Allen enters the final year of his contract with a new team that is rebuilding its offense under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. When asked whether he can envision himself with the Bears past the 2024 season, though, he had a definite answer.

“Yeah, absolutely, or we wouldn’t be here right now,” Allen said Saturday at Halas Hall. “Obviously, we’ll get there down the line.”

The Bears will have to carefully consider whether they want to extend Allen — who turns 32 next month — beyond his current contract, but the fourth-round price they paid to get him suggests they intend for him to be more than just a one-year rental. Still, there are valid questions about the value of paying big money to a wide receiver who will be a few years north of 30, even one as productive as Allen has been.

“We’re just kind of taking it one day at a time,” Allen said. “Got one year left, we’ll see what happens.”

Keenan Allen on Caleb Williams: ‘Hell of an Athlete’

Naturally, the newest veteran wide receiver on the Bears could not get through his introductory press conference without getting a question about Caleb Williams. He is one of the most talked-about names in Chicago right now with many around the league expecting the Bears to draft him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

So, what does Allen think about the former Heisman Trophy winner?

“Hell of an athlete,” Allen said of Williams. “Obviously, he can make tremendous plays with his feet, with his arm. Looks like he knows the game really well. Really good.”

Allen did not say anything about quarterback Justin Fields; although, in his defense, nobody asked him directly for his thoughts on Fields during March 16’s presser. He did mention looking forward to the opportunity to play opposite DJ Moore and talked up the additions of running back D’Andre Swift and tight end Gerald Everett for Chicago.

A quarterback controversy does not bother Allen, though. He has dealt with them before, most recently in 2020 when he watched then-rookie Justin Herbert take command of the starting position and secure his place as L.A.’s franchise quarterback. He also knows he can be helpful to whoever is under center for the Bears in 2024.

“I just think I’m friendly for the quarterback because I’ll be in the right spots,” Allen said. “I know how to communicate with him, and my body language is solid, too.”

Keenan Allen Had Trade Interest From 2 Other Teams

Allen said at the end of the 2023 regular season that he wanted to remain with the Chargers, but things changed when the team approached him about taking a pay cut during the offseason. The Chargers faced a dire salary-cap situation and asked several of their veterans to take pay cuts, including edge rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa.

But Allen, who finished with a career-high 108 receptions in 2023, refused to take a cut, prompting the team to explore its trade options with his pricey veteran contract. They even asked him which destination he would prefer from a pair of potential suitors.

“There were a couple teams that they [the Chargers] would allow me, I guess, to say where I wanted to go,” Allen said. “I only had like two teams.”

Allen revealed that the New York Jets and Houston Texans were the two teams that showed interest in potentially trading for him before the Bears swooped in. Both teams are looking to add more playmakers around their starting quarterbacks, so it makes sense that they would pursue a pass-catcher with 10,530 career receiving yards.

Instead, the Bears made a strong fourth-round offer to the Chargers and added Allen to their offense to give themselves a potential top-5 receiving duo in the NFL.

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