Austin Ekeler has been one of the most productive running backs in the NFL over the last couple of seasons, but it looks as though he could be playing elsewhere for the start of the 2023 season.
Ekeler is scheduled to enter the final year of his contract in 2023 and had preferred to secure himself a long-term deal before the season started. He had been in negotiations with the Los Angeles Chargers in order to keep him in town, but those talks have apparently broken down, and the running back has asked for a trade.
Austin Ekeler Can’t Agree With Chargers, Wants Out
There won’t be any shortage of interest, given Ekeler’s ability to produce. The free agent running back class of 2023 is anything but impressive, especially with Saquon Barkley off of the market. Ekeler wouldn’t be a free agent, but his availability would allow teams other options than just Kareem Hunt and Rashaad Penny.
Maybe last season’s devastating playoff loss has left a sour taste in Ekeler’s mouth. The Chargers were riding high in that Wild Card game against the Jaguars, and the running back had two first-quarter touchdowns as it looked like the Chargers would cruise. He received just five carries in the second half as Jacksonville mounted an inexplicable comeback.
Or perhaps he simply wants a bigger payday and longer job security.
Chargers’ RB Austin Ekeler is requesting permission to speak with other teams about a potential trade after preliminary talks with the team aimed at a contract extension did not progress, his agent Cameron Weiss told ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2023
Ekeler joined the Chargers as an undrafted free agent back in 2017. He played in a split backfield for the first three or four years of his career but truly blossomed once he became the feature back for the Chargers in 2021. He had 911 yards on 206 attempts for a 4.4 average, but truly shined in the passing game. He scored 8 touchdowns as a pass catcher in 2021 and led the team with a whopping 107 catches out of the backfield in 2022.
Look for teams like the Miami Dolphins to show some interest, who currently have a massive vacancy in their backfield. And don’t count out the defending NFC Champion Eagles, who will have a need at the position as well after the potential departures of Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
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