Should Patriots pursue Keenan Allen if Chargers cut veteran wide receiver?
Should Patriots pursue Keenan Allen if Chargers cut the veteran WR? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots need to upgrade at wide receiver in the offseason, but the options in free agency aren't very enticing.
ESPN recently unveiled its top 50 unrestricted NFL free agents ranking, and only three wideouts -- Jakobi Meyers of the Patriots, JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Kansas City Chiefs and DJ Chark of the Detroit Lions -- made the list.
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One veteran wide receiver who could potentially join that group is Keenan Allen of the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers are over the salary cap by more than $20 million and might need to release a few veterans to get cap compliant.
Chargers beat writer Daniel Popper at The Athletic made a list of players whose contracts would save the Chargers the most money if released. Allen was No. 2, and releasing him would save the Chargers at least $14.8 million. Of the six players listed, Popper thinks that Allen, offensive guard Matt Feiler and tight end Gerald Everett "are the most likely" to get cut.
If the Chargers do cut Allen, should the Patriots pursue him?
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Allen is 30 years old, so he wouldn't be a long-term solution at wide receiver. He also missed seven games due to injuries in 2022. However, he played 16 games in four of the previous five seasons from 2017 through 2021. During that five-year span, Allen averaged 101 receptions for 1183 yards and six touchdowns. Despite playing just 10 games this past season, Allen still tallied 66 receptions for 752 yards and four touchdowns.
The Patriots didn't get great production from their wideouts in 2022. No wide receiver on New England's roster posted more than 70 receptions or more than 850 receiving yards. Meyers, who is an unrestricted free agent, led all Patriots wide receivers with 67 receptions for 804 yards and six touchdowns.
Allen, as a 10-year veteran with excellent size (6-foot-2 and 211 pounds) and consistently strong numbers, would be a good addition to the Patriots offense, especially on a short-term contract. Whether he actually becomes available remains to be seen.