Austin Ekeler requests permission to seek trade from Chargers
Star running back Austin Ekeler has requested permission to seek a trade from the Los Angeles Chargers after “preliminary talks” for a contract extension fell through, his agent Cameron Weiss told to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter Monday.
Ekeler is entering the final year of a four-year, $24.5 million contract he signed ahead of the 2020 season. He carries a $7.8 million cap-hit for the 2023 season with a $6.3 million base salary, per Spotrac. His cap-hit is the 14th-highest at his position, while his base salary is the 12th-highest.
Ekeler, who finished in the top-10 for offensive player of the year in 2022, has been one of the league’s most productive running backs. Last year, he rushed for 915 yards on 4.5 yards per carry with 13 rushing touchdowns. The 5-foot-10 tailback showcased why he was also arguably the best pass-catching running back in the NFL not named Christian McCaffrey, adding 107 catches for 722 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
Ekeler’s 18 touchdowns was an NFL-most, coming two shy of tying his 2021 mark of 20, which was tied with Jonathan Taylor for the most leaguewide.
Ekeler has been one of Los Angeles’ most consistent skill position threats each of the last two seasons, along with Justin Herbert (duh) and wideout Keenan Allen. After it restructured Allen’s contract, the Chargers have $19.1 million in cap-space, and trading Ekeler would free up an extra $6.3 million, per Over The Cap.
The Chargers don’t have to trade Ekeler, per say, but it might be best for both sides if there’s any sort of tension. The 27-year-old could demand an extension with a similar average annual value of Dalvin Cook (5-year, $63 million) or Alvin Kamara (5-year, $75 million), but who knows what his market looks like after the recent valuation of paying long-term dollars to running backs, especially as he enters his age-28 season.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for details.
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