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Chargers trade WR Keenan Allen to Bears for 4th-round pick

The Los Angeles Chargers traded star wide receiver Keenan Allen to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick (No. 110 overall), the team announced Thursday.

The deal ends an era for the Chargers. Allen's tenure with the team predated its move to Los Angeles, as he was originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Allen went on to become the Chargers' all-time leader in receiving yards among wide receivers (Antonio Gates remains ahead of him on the overall list), starring for the team as it transitioned from Philip Rivers to Justin Herbert at quarterback and from Mike McCoy to Anthony Lynn to Brandon Staley at head coach.

That tenure will not extend into the Jim Harbaugh era. Harbaugh's arrival from Michigan this offseason coincided with a significant salary-cap crunch for the team, which has now cost it its top two wide receivers. Needing more than $20 million in cap space, the Chargers released standout Mike Williams on Wednesday.

The Chargers managed to get under the salary cap in time for the new league year, but Allen presented another challenge due to a $5 million roster bonus due Sunday. Pass rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack agreed to take pay cuts to remain with the team, but when the Chargers approached Allen about taking a pay cut Thursday, he declined, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

That will leave Harbaugh and Herbert with a wide receiver corps led by 2023 first-rounder Quentin Johnston and Joshua Palmer. Barring another major move or an enormous step forward, Herbert will enter the 2024 season with the worst set of weapons of his career.

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 26: Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on during warm ups prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at SoFi Stadium on November 26, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Keenan Allen's Chargers career is over after 11 seasons. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) (Katelyn Mulcahy via Getty Images)

Bears add a big WR for ... whichever QB they'll have in 2024

It remains unclear who will be starting under center for the Bears next season, but whomever it is, he'll have a respectable arsenal around him.

The Bears had already landed a new starting running back with former Philadelphia Eagles starter D'Andre Swift and will be returning Pro Bowl wide receiver DJ Moore, who had a career-high 1,364 receiving yards last year.

Moore and Allen would form a pairing of perennial 1,000-yard receivers, which the former seems to have thoughts on:

As for who is throwing the passes, Justin Fields remains on the roster. The trade market appears to not be materializing, but that isn't exactly a good argument for keeping him as starter next season.

The Bears have the No. 1 pick in the draft this season and could very well use it on a quarterback, the most notable option being USC's Caleb Williams. Chicago could very well be building a friendly offense for an incoming rookie quarterback, or it could be trying to give Fields all the support he can get in a make-or-break season.