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This Important Chargers Player Seeks To Be Traded

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Austin Ekeler is one of the Chargers’ most effective offensive weapons. With the news breaking after the FA window opened, Ekeler has requested to speak with other teams during the 2023 free agency frenzy.

Although Ekeler is on the brink of potentially finding a new home with a new team, he’s been a workhouse for the Chargers.

On Mar. 13, around noon, Adam Schefter tweeted, “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.”

Chargers granted permission to RB Austin Ekeler today to seek a trade after the two sides failed to make progress for a new contract, per his agent Cameron Weiss. — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2023

Ekeler is entering the last year of his contract setting him to make $6.25 million in base salary. The Chargers’ star running back has been seeking a new contract. Still, he’s being overlooked and undervalued, so he’s asking permission to seek a trade.

Los Angeles can save cap space this year, extending Michael Davis, CB, or Austin Ekeler, RB. However, the contract talks aren’t trending in Ekeler’s favor. Austin wants that contract extension with the Chargers, which he deserves. But he could be playing on the one-year deal if he doesn’t get an extension with the team.

Are the Chargers underpaying Austin Ekeler?

Yes. Austin Ekeler is underpaid. The Chargers gave Ekeler a 4-year, $24 million deal. The former undrafted free agent has taken the league by storm, eventually replacing Melvin Gordon in 2019.

The $24 million extension was massive for Ekeler at the time due to his status in the NFL. Los Angeles should discuss with Ekeler because he’s outperformed the contract with the production he’s been showcasing in his last two seasons.

In 2021, Ekeler ran 206 attempts, 911 rushing yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and 70 receptions. Last year, he was the Chargers leading rusher with 915 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Austin Ekeler has had 25 touchdowns in the last two seasons. Last season, the Chargers running back broke the record for most receptions by a running back in their franchise history (107).

Moreover, Austin is one of four players in 15 years to score at least 15 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. He shares the threshold with Marshall Faulk of being one of two players in NFL history to have ten rushing touchdowns and five or more receiving touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

In addition, he and Priest Holmes were both undrafted and had 1,500 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

Chargers Grant Ekeler Permission To Seek Trade

The Los Angeles Chargers permitted running back Austin Ekeler to see a trade.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Chargers running back could seek elsewhere, but there’s a good chance he could be.

The free agency period is incredibly busy with running backs looking for somewhere to be. The RB market is seemingly active; other running backs like Alexander Mattison, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, D’Onta Foreman, Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, Jamaal Williams and Damien Harris are all looking for a new home. The Los Angeles Chargers running back may be the best RB looking for a new home.

Why Ekeler To The Bears Makes Sense

Per PFF, “Ekeler led all running backs with 126 targets last season, 67 more than the entire Bears backfield combined.” The Bears are a run-heavy offense, especially with their mobile quarterback Justin Fields, under center.

A run offensive scheme could help the Bears tap into the passing game plan. The Bears’ wide receiving corp features Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney, and the newly acquired former Carolina Panthers, DJ Moore.

Adding someone of Ekeler’s expertise would allow the offense to keep defenses unbalanced by opening up option plays and play-action plays. The Bears are expected to make a lot of noise in the FA period with their cap space to tweak their needs at the offense position. Ekeler’s versatility and value to an offense are why the Bears should be interested in what he offers.

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