Keenan Allen Gets Colossal Contract Extension From Chargers

Adrian Lawhorn

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has been productive during his three years in the NFL, and now he's cashing in on his success.

Fox Sports has reported that Allen and the Chargers have agreed to a four-year contract extension, which would pay Allen in the neighborhood of $45 million. A whopping $20 million of that money is guaranteed.

Allen, who was the Chargers' third-round draft pick in 2013, was averaging just over $700,000 in salary while still on his rookie contract -- making his new pay rate seem astronomical by comparison.

Keenan Allen's NFL career got off to a rocky start, as he was flagged during the pre-draft process for a positive drug test. According to CBS Sports, Allen's draft stock took a hit due to his alleged drug use, and he fell to the third round of the draft as a result.

Thought to have first-round talent coming out of the University of California-Berkeley, the six-foot-two, 206-pound wide receiver wasted little time showing the NFL that he was a force to be reckoned with.

Allen enjoyed an outstanding rookie season in 2013, catching 71 passes for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. However, Allen fell pray to the so-called "sophomore jinx" in 2014, posting 783 receiving yards and catching only four touchdown passes.

Keenan Allen arrived in training camp last season ready to prove his excellent rookie campaign was not a fluke. His season totals were not eye-popping: 67 receptions, 725 yards and four touchdowns. However, Allen accomplished this in only eight games, as he missed half the season with a lacerated kidney.

Had Allen continued on the torrid pace he was on in 2015, he would have led the NFL in receptions, and been among the league leaders in receiving yards as well. In short, Keenan Allen was having a breakout season prior to the injury, and the Chargers knew it -- which inspired the team's management to lock Allen up through the year 2020.

The Chargers suffered through a 4-12 season in 2015, the team's worst finish in more than a decade. There is more work to do if the Chargers intend to make noise in the AFC West this coming season, but pairing Philip Rivers with Keenan Allen is a big step in the right direction.

Interestingly, wide receiver was not considered Allen's best position in high school; he was arguably the best defensive back in the country coming out of Northern Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Upon joining the California Golden Bears in 2010, Allen was used exclusively as a wideout, which in retrospect seems to have been a tremendous aid to Allen's future in professional football.

After a stellar college career, Allen declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season. He sustained an injury to his posterior cruciate ligament during his junior year that had not fully healed prior to the NFL Scouting Combine. That, combined with his positive drug test, caused a severe dip in Allen's desirability in the eyes of NFL scouts and general managers.

However, when a player of Keenan Allen's talent was still available in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers felt he was worth the risk and called his name when it came their time to choose. As it turns out, Keenan Allen spent the last three years making the San Diego Chargers glad they took that risk.

[Photo by Jeffrey Phelps/AP Images]

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