Chicago Bears make head-scratching move acquiring WR Keenan Allen

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles makes a head-scratching move, acquiring wide receiver Kennan Allen.

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / Harry How/GettyImages

Chicago Bears fans were wondering what was going on with general manager Ryan Poles. Two days into free agency and he was busy signing a lot of depth pieces and mid-players. His first signing was running back D'Andre Swift. He is a nice player but running back was not a major hole in the roster.

Poles continued to sign depth pieces. He signed many players who likely won't make an impact on the field. The list includes quarterback Brett Rypien, offensive linemen Jake Curhan, Coleman Shelton, and Matt Pryor, and safety Jonathan Owens.

If any of these players become starters then something went horribly wrong for the Bears. These are players he could have waited to sign later.

To be fair, Poles did have solid signings with safety Kevin Byard and tight end Gerald Everett. Byard will start in place of recently waived Eddie Jackson. Everett will see a lot of snaps with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron's penchant for using two tight-end sets in his offense. Additionally, Everett was with Waldron in Los Angeles with the Rams and in Seattle with the Seahawks.

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles makes a head-scratching move, acquiring aging wide receiver Keenan Allen for a fourth-round draft pick.

Now Poles makes another head-scratching move. He pulled the trigger on a trade for Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen. In exchange for Allen, Poles sent a fourth-round pick to the Chargers.

It was certainly a splashy move. Allen is a six-time Pro Bowler, including in 2023. However, he will be 32 years old in April. That is not the typical age for a player that Poles targets. He took over one of the oldest teams in the NFL in 2022 and quickly turned it into one of the youngest.

Poles was excited with the move at least.

"We're extremely excited to add Keenan to our team. His body of work speaks for itself and we look forward to him elevating our offense."

Allen is certainly a good player, but how does he fit with the team? He will be a one-year rental (premium rental). At 32, he has more years behind him than in front of him.

Move hits the Bears negatively in two ways

Allen will be a big hit on the salary cap. His salary will be a $23.1 million cap hit. He is also due a $5 million bonus on Sunday. Also, it is the final year of his contract so he likely won't even be on the roster in 2025. The trade happened because he refused to take a pay cut. The Chargers then found someone willing to pay the big amount.

Allen's cap hit took away about 60 percent of the Chicago Bears' salary cap space. Before the trade, they had $57.185 million. Now they have about $34.09 million left. It is strange since Poles has been disciplined in his spending. He would not spend a lot of money unless it was a young veteran like DJ Moore (who will be 27) last season. Spending all that money on a player who likely plays just one season is strange.

There is another way this deal hurts the Bears. Poles gave up a valuable draft pick. With this trade, he now has just four picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. None of them are past the fourth round. They now have the #1, #9, #75, and #172 picks.

Poles has stated numerous times how he wants to build through the draft. He has been wheeling and dealing in his first two drafts. He will need to do more of that in April. However, he had some premium draft picks. He will now have to move down to pick up more picks. That means he won't have as many of the quality prospects he could have if he does not trade the picks.

At least one of the top-ten picks the Bears have will be traded. Many analysts expect Poles to use the top pick on Caleb Williams. That means the ninth pick will be for sale. That also means that the Bears will not be in the running for one of the top three wide receivers in the draft, Marvin Harrison Jr, Rome Odunze, or Malik Nabers.

That could be the reason he gave up valuable draft capital for Allen. However, why would he want to pay $23.1 million for one year of Allen when he could have one of the other prospects for four years on a rookie deal?


We won't know what Poles is thinking or what his ultimate plans for the offseason will be until he makes other moves. Right now, though, his moves are head-scratchers.