Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Chargers GM Joe Hortiz on sending Keenan Allen to Bears: ‘I knew who I was trading’

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One of the most surprising moves of the offseason so far was the Los Angeles Chargers — after already having gotten cap-compliant by cutting Mike Williams and getting both Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa to take less money on reworked deals — deciding to trade Keenan Allen. L.A. sent its all-time leading wideout (tight Antonio Gates is the franchise’s all-time leading receiver overall) to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick. 

The Chargers now have a wide receiver room that is almost totally bereft of talent, and also have cut ties with a franchise legend early in a new front office and coaching regime. The Chargers’ new general manager, Joe Hortiz, explained to the team’s official website that he did not take the Allen trade lightly. 

“Yeah, I knew who I was trading,” Hortiz said. “He’s a very talented player and I respect him as a player, as a person. It’s difficult when you have to cut a player, trade a player, release a player. … I think when you’re talking about trading Keenan specifically, yeah that’s not a decision you make with no acknowledgment of, ‘This is a talented player that can still compete.'”

Allen is coming off arguably the best season of his career, having racked up a career-high 108 catches for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns in just 13 games. With both Allen and Williams off the roster, L.A. is now left with 2023 first-round pick Quentin Johnston, fourth-round pick Derius Davis, Josh Palmer and Simi Fehoko as the only receivers on the roster.

“It’s always difficult for a player like [Allen] certainly, but it creates an opportunity for other players to step up,” Hortiz continued. “Again, we’re not done building that room out so we’re going to look to continue to add pieces to that room.”

The Chargers will surely have to add pieces to that room, because the group they currently have puts highly paid quarterback Justin Herbert at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to facing opposing defenses. And that’s why the Allen trade was so surprising to begin with.

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