4 Los Angeles Chargers Trade Options To Replace Keenan Allen After Disheartening Blockbuster

Credit: Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Chargers fans are reeling following the news that their new brass traded long-time wide receiver and franchise legend Keenan Allen to the Chicago Bears Thursday night.

Allen is one of the best players in the history of the Chargers. He earned six Pro Bowl nods with the organization since they made him a third-round pick out of CAL back in 2013.

Such is the nature of the beast in today’s NFL. Los Angeles was up against the cap heading into the start of free agency this week. The team was able to restructure the contracts of edge rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.

But the Chargers had to move on from both Allen and fellow wide receiver Mike Williams. To say that it creates a major void at this position for new head coach Jim Harbaugh and Co. would be a major understatement.

The Chargers’ top returning pass-catcher from the wide receiver position is 2023 first-round pick Quentin Johnston (38 receptions). This is not necessarily setting franchise quarterback Justin Herbert up to take his game to the next level under the combination of Harbaugh and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

The Chargers must make multiple moves at wide receiver moving forward on the season. That will likely include exhausting a draft pick or two on this position. Though, the Chargers must also think long and hard about tapping into the veteran trade market at this position. We expect general manager Joe Hortiz is having those conversations with his front office right now.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers Salary Cap “Wizardy”

Los Angeles Chargers Trade Options To Replace Keenan Allen

Marvin Harrison Jr.
Credit: Brooke LaValley / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Los Angeles boasts the fifth pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The team has been heavily linked to former LSU standout wide receiver Malik Nabers with that selection. Why not see if a trade up even one spot with the Arizona Cardinals for Marvin Harrison Jr. could be in the cards? We expect quarterbacks to go with the top-three selections in the annual event. Harrison Jr. is seen as a generational wide receiver prospect in the mold of a Ja’Marr Chase. Sure, Nabers has his own positives. But don’t overthink this if the opportunity presents itself.
  • It’s going to be nearly impossible to replace Allen and the production he has provided the Chargers over the past 11 seasons. It might be too much to ask a potential acquisition. Perhaps, a committee approach would work. It’s in this that Los Angeles should approach the Jacksonville Jaguars about a trade for veteran Zay Jones. The veteran had a career-best season with Jacksonville back in 2022, recording 82 receptions for 823 yards while catching 68% of his targets. He’d come cheap from a compensation perspective and would count a mere $7 million against the cap in 2024.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers Add Another Weapon For Justin Herbert

  • Could a blockbuster trade be in the cards for the Chargers? They have created enough cap room to make it work. They also have all of the NFL Draft picks for the foreseeable future. Why not call the San Francisco 49ers up about Brandon Aiyuk? Rumors continue to persist that he’s on the trade block. We’re talking about one of the most-dynamic receivers in the game and perhaps the best route runner short of Justin Jefferson. It would probably take Quentin Johnston, a second-round pick and a future selection to make this work. It would also take a lucrative long-term contract, which the Chargers could push large cap hits back to later years.
Minnesota Vikings' Justin Jefferson
Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
  • Now, on to the big fish. Is the aforementioned Justin Jefferson available? The Minnesota Vikings say no. But rumors continue to persist that he could be made available if the Vikes were offered everything uner the sun. That’s especially true with his contract situation remaining up in the air. A move of this ilk would start with Los Angeles’ first-round pick (fifth overall) and would likely include Johnston as well as a ton of other Day 2 and Day 3 picks. At the very least, why not put in a call?