Best: Keenan Allen, 4 years, $45 million, $20.7 million guaranteed
I thought this was a pretty easy selection to make. Regardless of his injury last season, Allen is one of the real bright young NFL talents at the position. He plays on a team that lacks playmakers yet is able to stand out despite the attention he gets. He had been consistent his first two years before making the “third year leap” many expect for receivers as he was on his way to a 1,400 yard season before being injured.
Maybe the injury made Allen more risk averse, but to get a premier wide receiver to sign for this money is a big win for San Diego, especially when you consider that San Diego should be desperate to keep talented offensive players. Allen should be in the TY Hilton level but instead is in the Maclin/Hurns/Baldwin level. He is better than those players and has much more upside.
Getting the contract done early gives the Chargers a very reasonable contract from a cap perspective. His cap charge will never be more than $10.7 million and that is at the very end of the deal. His salary is such at the end of the contract if a new CBA is not reached he wont be able to break the bank on a second extension. If the injury really hurts him the team could also walk away in 2018 with under $6 million left on the cap. A very solid contract.
Worst: King Dunlap, 4 years, $28 million, $8.5M guaranteed
The Chargers have a number of bad ones on this team. They seem to be an organization that too often falls in love with the reclamation project who has seemingly redeemed himself or the possible one year wonder and then hand the player a contract that they regret a year later. Dunlap is the player that stands out the most as one of these head scratchers where a team seems to disregard the big picture for the hope of a few shining moments.
Dunlap had his one year trial with the Chargers in 2013 and he certainly did better than he did in his stint with the Eagles. He started 11 games and was a decent enough player, but at best he really should have been a stopgap solution. The Chargers went with a four year, $28 million contract which the Chargers wanted to get out of by the time the ink was dry on the deal.
Just one year into the contract the Chargers were looking for a pay cut but were somewhat backed into a corner because there was no good Plan B and his salary vested in early March. While they were able to shift some salary into incentives they were pretty much stuck for the season. On the bright side since the Chargers don’t do massive signing bonuses they will be able to move on from Dunlap in 2017, but they already wasted too much on a player they never should have wasted much on.