Here is why the Bears should not extend this WR this off-season

V. Carbonneau
May 29, 2024  (9:43)

Keenan Allen with the Chargers
Photo credit: ESPN

Chicago Bears' Strategic Gamble on Keenan Allen: Age and Contract Dynamics in Play

The Chicago Bears managed to acquire Keenan Allen at a bargain price, thanks largely to his age and contract situation. At 32 years old, Allen is at the point where many wide receivers begin to see a decline in their performance. Additionally, this season marks the final year of his current deal. While it might be unrealistic to expect a repeat of his impressive 1,243-yard season from 2024, there are solid reasons to believe Allen can still deliver strong performances this year. Nevertheless, the Bears should exercise caution and wait before extending his contract.
Assessing the Risk: Allen's Age and Historical Performance
The primary concern is Allen's age. Most receivers tend to experience a significant drop in productivity after turning 31. However, Allen's skill set positions him to age more gracefully than many of his peers. Despite this, it's challenging to predict if he can maintain a high level of play consistently.
Allen's 1,243-yard season at 31 places him among an elite group of receivers. Historically, only 44 receivers have surpassed 1,000 yards at this age, with even fewer reaching higher milestones: 27 hit 1,100 yards, and only 17 achieved 1,200 yards. By age 33, these numbers drop dramatically: 20 receivers reached 1,000 yards, 13 surpassed 1,100, and just four managed 1,200 yards. Clearly, replicating such success becomes increasingly rare as players age.
New Team Dynamics and Competition for Targets
Transitioning from the Los Angeles Chargers, where he was the clear number-one target, Allen will now compete with Rome Odunze and DJ Moore for primary targets in Chicago. This change could impact his stats, as he adjusts to a new offensive scheme and shares the spotlight with other talented receivers.
Injury History and Market Strategy
Allen's injury history is another factor that warrants a cautious approach. Despite his proven track record, the risk of injury increases with age, and his ability to stay healthy will be crucial. Even if Allen performs well, his market value at 32 will likely be influenced by these concerns. The Bears could let him test the free agent waters, with the option to match any offers he receives later.
### Optimal Timing for Contract Extension
The Bears clearly value Allen and want to keep him on the roster, but the timing for an extension isn't ideal right now. The smarter move would be to evaluate how he integrates into the offense and monitor his performance over the season. This strategy allows the Bears to make a more informed decision, potentially extending Allen's contract during the season or immediately after, based on his contributions and overall fit with the team.
In conclusion, while Keenan Allen brings experience and talent to the Bears, his age and injury history make it prudent for the team to wait and see how he performs this season before committing to a contract extension. This approach balances the potential risks and rewards, positioning the Bears to make a strategic decision that benefits both the player and the team in the long run.
29 MAY   |   56 ANSWERS
Here is why the Bears should not extend this WR this off-season

Should the Chicago Bears extend Keenan Allen's contract this season?

Yes3257.1 %
No2442.9 %
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