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The San Diego Chargers should sign Keenan Allen to a contract extension (right now!)

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The San Diego Chargers front office has a good opportunity to lock up one of their superstars through him prime and below market value. Why aren't they moving on a deal?

San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers are tempting fate, currently. At least, in my opinion, they are.

Their star WR, Keenan Allen, is one year away from free agency.

As a 3rd round draft pick, Allen has made next to nothing in the first three years of his career (career earnings? $1.84 million). As the result of him playing in so many games for the team over that career, his salary this season jumps up to $1.65 million.

If that seems like a lot of money, remember that we're basing a lot of this off of market value. Spotrac has KA13's market value at $11.7M per season, in a 6-year contract for $70M total.

If we look at the team by how much cash they're actually sending out to players this year, Allen ranks behind Travis Benjamin ($7.7M), Stevie Johnson ($2.9M), and Antonio Gates ($6M).

I know the game is the game, and Keenan Allen was drafted in the 3rd round so he has to deal with some of the drawbacks of that, but the team has a pretty easy opportunity to lock up one of their most talented and most important player right now and they don't seem eager to take advantage.

Allen has the right to wait until he hits free agency and bring his talents to the team with the biggest checkbook, but I'm assuming that he wouldn't turn down an offer to make a lot of cash right now and guarantee his future should some sort of catastrophic injury occur this season.

If the market value for Keenan is 6-years and $70M, I think the Chargers could get Allen to sign a 5-year contract extension worth around $50M that doesn't kick in until next season but includes a signing bonus this year of north of $10M (Randall Cobb got a $13M signing bonus from the Green Bay Packers when he signed a 4-year, $40M contract extension).

That way, the team has essentially locked him up for 6 years at less than $52M, and Keenan Allen has guaranteed his future. In addition, Allen has put about $10M in his pocket and can start really living out his dreams right now. (And, it puts him in a position to hit free agency one more time when he's 30 years old.)

Maybe I'm off in my numbers. Maybe it takes more than that. However, for a team that can't afford to take any steps back, and a team that just lost Ladarius Green to free agency, I don't want to think about what might happen or even what the team might pay if they decide to wait a year to see what kind of offers Allen gets.

Sign him now!