Keenan Allen is entering his second decade in the NFL, a stellar career that he's spent with just one club: the Chargers, from San Diego to Los Angeles.
As far as longtime Chargers general manager Tom Telesco is concerned, Allen will never not wear the bolt on his helmet.
"Keenan Allen, to me, he's our Andre Reed. He's our Charlie Joiner," Telesco said Wednesday on Good Morning Football when asked if the aging WR has a place on the 2023 roster. "He's an incredible football player. We have a great quarterback and we need weapons around him. There's never been any thought of that."
Invoking Reed, who spent 15 of his 16 seasons in Buffalo, and Joiner, who finished his 18-year career with 11 campaigns in San Diego, implies that Telesco sees Allen in L.A. for the foreseeable future.
As durable as they came for his first five seasons in Los Angeles -- all of which ended in Pro Bowl nods -- Allen missed seven regular-season games in 2022, his age-30 season, with a fickle hamstring. Still, Allen finished third on the team in receptions (66) and receiving yards (752), an integral part of the Justin Herbert-led attack.
Allen has two years left on his contract and is guaranteed just $1.5 million this season. He's the third most-expensive player on the team in 2023 -- for now -- with a $21.7 million cap number. Meanwhile, the Chargers, two weeks before the start of the new league year, are projected to be $20 million over the salary cap.
If, for some reason, Los Angeles decided it wanted to move on from the veteran this offseason, it could save as much as $17.5 million with a post-June 1 cut or $19 million with a post-June 1 trade, per Over The Cap. The Chargers do, after all, have to make room for the inevitable and potentially groundbreaking contract handed out to Herbert, unquestionably the face of the franchise. Read between the lines, and a contract restructure or two could be in the offing, including one for Allen.
But with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore in the building -- Telesco said Wednesday that L.A. was "really lucky" he became available to replace Joe Lombardi -- the Chargers, as currently constructed, are built to win now with Allen and friends. Blowing that up with a veteran cut feels ill-advised, and Telesco's on board with the offensive weaponry as is.
"So he's with us," Telesco said of Allen, "and between him and Mike Williams and Josh Palmer, we think that's a great three receivers for our quarterback. We got Austin Ekeler at running back. We have an offensive line that can protect. So those are key weapons we need for our quarterback. We're thrilled with Keenan."