Keenan Allen’s name has been mentioned as a possible salary-cap casualty this offseason, but Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco debunked those rumors on Wednesday.
‘Keenan Allen isn’t going anywhere,’ Telesco said to reporters at the NFL combine.
Telesco also gave Allen a ringing endorsement on NFL Network.
‘Keenan Allen, to me, he’s our Andre Reed. He’s our Charlie Joiner,’ Telesco said. ‘He’s an incredible football player. We have a great quarterback, we need weapons around him, there’s never been any thought of that.
‘He’s with us, between him, Mike Williams, and Josh Palmer, we think that’s a great three receivers for our quarterback,’ Telesco added. ‘We got Austin Ekeler at running back, we got an offensive line that can protect. So those are key weapons we need for our quarterback. We’re thrilled with Keenan.’
Telesco’s statements on Wednesday backed his stance on Allen at the Chargers’ end-of-the-year press conference in January.
‘Good players make money, and I would rather have a lot of good players on our roster than a lot of cap space,’ Telesco said on Jan. 19.
Why is Keenan Allen rumored to be a cut candidate?
Allen is due a base salary of $15.5 million next season. He carries a cap hit of $21.7 million in 2023. The Chargers would save over $14 million if they release the veteran wideout before June 1.
The Chargers are currently $20.3 million over the salary cap for next season, per Over The Cap.
Allen will also be 31 years old at the start of the 2023 season.
Keenan Allen’s 2022 season
In 2022, Allen had his least productive year since the 2016 season due to injuries. He had 66 catches, 752 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 10 games.
The 10-year wideout has compiled 796 receptions, 9,287 receiving yards and 52 touchdown catches in his career. He ranks second in Chargers history in catches.
Why Chargers should keep Keenan Allen
Allen’s been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL over the past several years. Since the start of the 2017 season, Allen ranks third in the NFL with 575 receptions. The five-time Pro Bowler is also regarded as one of the NFL’s best route runners.
The Chargers are in need of some speed from the wide receiver position, but Allen’s role as a slot receiver and possession receiver is vital in the team’s offense.
Telesco will have some tough decisions to make in an effort to manage the team’s salary cap, but releasing Allen makes the Chargers worse and gets rid of quarterback Justin Herbert’s top receiving target.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.