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Keenan Allen sees Bears future past 2024 but has no timeline for potential contract extension

Keenan Allen sees Bears future past 2024 but has no timeline for potential contract extension originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Keenan Allen is coming off a season in which he caught 108 passes for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games for the Los Angeles Chargers. So when they asked him to restructure his contract to take a pay cut, the answer was simple.

"It really was no emotion," Allen, who the Bears acquired Thursday in a trade, said Saturday at Halas Hall. "I'm not doing it. I'm not doing it. I just came off my best season so it's not happening."

During locker cleanout in January, Allen told Los Angeles media that he didn't want to play anywhere else. The 11-year veteran insinuated that he would only play for a handful of teams other than the Chargers if LA planned to trade him.

Allen said the Chargers would only allow him to explore a trade to a few teams, and of the teams on the shortlist, only the Houston Texans and New York Jets showed interest.

Ultimately, he ended up in Chicago after the Bears sent the Chargers a 2024 fourth-round pick to acquire him. Allen is entering the final year of his contract but views Chicago as a place he has a future with past this upcoming season.

"Absolutely," Allen said Saturday about being with the Bears past 2024. "Or we wouldn’t be here right now. Obviously, we’ll get there down the line."

The Bears incurred $23 million in cap charges for 2024 by acquiring Allen. He is due a $5 million roster bonus on Sunday as he enters the final year of his contract.

While Allen expects to be a Bear past 2024, and it would behoove the Bears to get an extension done to lower his 2024 cap hit, there are currently no irons in the fire on that end.

“No, not really. We’re just kind of taking it one day at a time," Allen said. "Got one-year left and we’ll see what happens.”

Allen joins a skill group with wide receiver DJ Moore, tight ends Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett, and running back D'Andre Swift.

The 11-year-old is excited about the potential of a Bears roster that is on the rise in the NFC.

“We can be really special," Allen said. "Like you said, we got weapons. You guys who can beat man all over the field. So double teaming one guy is going to be costly for the defense. I think we can use that as our advantage. Having a running back that can come out of the backfield and make plays and beat one-on-ones, that’s kind of big.”

The trade for Allen is a win-now move that signals that the Bears believe their time to contend begins in 2024 and that they expect that window to remain open for some time.

Extending Allen through the remainder of his prime will be part of the effort. Pairing Allen with Moore and presumptive No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams should ensure that window stays open for the rest of the decade.

Allen wants to be in Chicago. He wouldn't have taken the Halas Hall dais on Saturday if it weren't.

Entering Year 12, Allen was focused on landing with a team that would give him a chance to contend for the remainder of his career. He believes the Bears can do that.

"Absolutely," Allen said. "When you start to see the roster shaping up the way it is, I think we’re going to have a good shot.”

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