MARCH 14: The Bolts will allow their dynamic back to see if a trade market forms. They will let Ekeler explore a trade, according to his agent (Twitter link). Running backs’ diminished value aside, the NFL’s two-time reigning touchdown kingpin is now tied to the league’s 15th-most lucrative deal at the position. Rising from UDFA status to a top-tier performer at the position, Ekeler has outplayed his contract. Will another team reward him while giving the Chargers compensation?
MARCH 13: The next few days will be dominated by free agents finding new homes, but trades are also part of this portion of the NFL offseason. One involving Chargers running back Austin Ekeler could be taking place soon, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that he has requested permission to seek a trade.
The trade request follows unsuccessful preliminary discussions with the organization regarding a contract extension. The running back is entering the final season of a four-year, $24.5MM deal and is set to earn $6.25MM in 2023. According to ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry, the latest negotiations “failed to progress,” leading to today’s development.
The Chargers may have a tough time affording Ekeler’s next deal. The team recently had to rework the contracts of receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and edge rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack in order to be cap compliant. The front office is also eyeing a significant contract extension for quarterback Justin Herbert, meaning they’ll surely have to make tough decisions elsewhere on the roster.
The 27-year-old running back has transformed from an undrafted free agent into one of the most dominant offensive players in the NFL. Ekeler has topped 900 yards from scrimmage in each of the past five seasons, but he’s taken it to another level over the past two years. In 33 games between the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Ekeler has compiled 3,195 yards from scrimmage and 38 touchdowns.
Ekeler would certainly be an upgrade on most of the free agent running backs, although any suitor would obviously have to give up compensation to acquire the Chargers RB. With Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, and Tony Pollard all getting slapped with the franchise tag, the top of the RB market includes the likes of Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, and Damien Harris.
The Chargers could theoretically be the in the market for a running back if they end up moving Ekeler. The team is also rostering a pair of unproven RBs in Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller.
16 comments on “Chargers Grant Austin Ekeler Permission To Seek Trade”
Go play your air guitar in Houston
Bad time to be trading a back. Wild that two different teams franchised running backs when there are so, so many running backs available this offseason.
Cowboys, Giants, and Raiders all tagged a RB
Oh yeah, you’re right. Even wilder. There are so many on the open market, plus I think this is a really good draft class.
How much does a RB who has never had 20 rushes in a game but is an elite receiver get on the market? Closest comp maybe Lev Bell in 2018? Bell was more of a work-horse type back though and carried the ball a ton more. That could make Ekeler more appealing with less miles, or less appealing in terms of maybe he couldn’t handle a full season load? Depends on who you’re asking I guess.
No way he fetches a second rounder in trade, if that’s what you mean.
I like Ekeler a lot but I’m glad he’s the odd man out. As a receiving back I think he’s the most replaceable out of all the contracts that got restructured. I hope they can get a decent pick for him and wish him the best of luck.
I agree. I have said for years he is not a #1 rb. Hopefully,they can turn his td production into at least a third rounder. He won’t be a #1 anywhere in my opinion.
Panthers should be calling if it takes less than a 3rd. Could use an RB for a rookie QB to dump off too. same with the Texans
Would look nice with Josh Allen chucking him the ball. The Bills need a receiving threat back. Cook could be it. Hynes didn’t do much last year. Screw it, go for it!
If the Bills are looking for a receiving back they’ve got the 2 you mentioned. One who’s proven and one who’s got real upside. Not sure why they’d allocate assets for Ekeler in that situation. They’re better off pairing what they’ve got with a truer in between the tackles guy if they want to make a splash at the position. A la Derrick Henry.
Good for Ekeler! It must be tiring performing so well for such a pointless team with no fans, no city, and no stadium of their own. Chargers have permanent bad karma and incompetence permeated by the Spanos Trust Fund fools.
So says someone uttering Dumb Sports Fan tropes.
The Chargers have a more legitimate claim to Los Angeles than the team now located in Las Vegas. And yes, the Chargers made the playoffs last season.
If he wants a Super Bowl ring come to KC
Love to see him in Cincy …