Los Angeles Chargers star running back Austin Ekeler could be on a new team come next season. The 27-year-old Ekeler is reportedly requesting to speak with other teams about a potential trade as a contract extension between him and the Chargers could not be reached.
“Chargers’ RB Austin Ekeler is requesting 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,” ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted Monday.
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
According to Schefter, Ekeler is due $6.25 million in 2023 in what is scheduled to be the last year of his contract. The former undrafted free agent out of Western Colorado has been a vital part of the Chargers’ offense and the development of star quarterback Justin Herbert. Playing in all 17 games this past season, Ekeler ran for 915 yards on 204 rushing attempts with 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also hauled in 107 receptions with 722 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions.
The NFL world reacted to Ekeler’s shocking request on Twitter.
Just heard on NFL Network: "Austin Ekeler knows he's getting up there, going to be 28 in a few months."
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) March 13, 2023
“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.”
NFL general managers:pic.twitter.com/WiZsqEzm8r
— Moody (@EricNMoody) March 13, 2023
Most touchdowns 2021-2022:
1. Austin Ekeler (38)
2. James Conner (26)
T3. Davante Adams (25)
T3. Joe Mixon (25)
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) March 13, 2023
Austin Ekeler, 28, is only making $7.5M in the final year of his contract and has been underpaid for years. The Chargers made commitments to Big Mike and Keenan on big deals, so it makes sense to be upset.
And the Chargers salary cap is TIGHT.
— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) March 13, 2023
This is interesting. Austin Ekeler's on the final year of a four-year deal he did in early 2020. He's owed $5.75 million in 2023. And it's always going to be tough sledding for a running back to find a third big contract in the NFL. https://t.co/SgCbRg459C
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 13, 2023
since 2019, Austin Ekeler NFL ranks:
#12 in total receptions (323)
#12 in receptions/game (5.5)
he's caught more passes than most team's WR1
atypical back, atypical skill set, makes valuation a little more complicated https://t.co/El1OUFh4V3
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 13, 2023
It’s unclear whether the Chargers will grant Ekeler’s request. But it’s certainly a situation worth monitoring with the NFL’s legal tampering period now underway.
[Adam Schefter on Twitter]