Source – Chargers’ Austin Ekeler stays, with $1.75 million in incentives

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Two months after requesting a trade, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler will remain in Los Angeles for the final season of his contract, with $1.75 million in incentives added to his contract, said a source to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Ekeler, who turned 28 earlier this month, was expected to earn $6.25 million in the fourth and final season of a $24.5 million extension.

He remains tied to free agency after the season.

Ekeler was absent on Monday as the Chargers began volunteer-organized team activities, but coach Brandon Staley emphasized respect for Ekeler when asked about his current situation.

“The current state with Austin is that he’s been one of the best guards in the league over the last two seasons. He’s been captain for us,” Staley said. “We really have the utmost respect for him and the situation.”

It is unclear whether Ekeler will now report to OTAs. He chose last offseason not to attend due to other business activities.

Staley, however, said he “definitely” expects Ekeler to attend the team’s mandatory minicamp which begins on June 13.

Last season, Ekeler played a vital role in the Chargers’ progress to the playoffs for the first time in four years before being eliminated in a 31-30 playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In 17 starts, Ekeler scored the NFL’s best 18 touchdowns, while rushing for a team-high 915 yards and catching 107 passes for 702 yards. An oft-used target out of the backfield, Ekeler also led the NFL with 822 yards after the catch.

“We’re behind him and he’s one of those guys that we back no matter what,” quarterback Justin Herbert said last month of Ekeler’s trade request. “He’s a guy who shows up and he plays hard and he works about as hard as anybody on and off the pitch.”

In March, Ekeler told Chris Long on the “Greenlight” podcast that he was “so underpaid right now.”

Ekeler’s average salary of $6.125 million ranked 13th in the NFL, according to, with 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey atop the rankings earning an average of $16 million per season.

Ekeler has expressed a desire to sign a long-term extension, either with the Chargers or another team, but also said he has no ill will towards the Chargers and would like to stay with the organization. .

At the end of the NFL Draft last month, general manager Tom Telesco said ‘no’ when asked if any teams had expressed interest in trading for Ekeler, triggering what appeared to be his likely return to Los Angeles. Angeles.

Ekeler is expected to play a pivotal role on offense again this season, but this time under freshman coordinator Kellen Moore, who took the job after spending the previous four seasons serving as the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator. .

“Certainly, from my perspective, what Austin has done has been remarkable,” Moore said earlier this offseason.

Since entering the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted free agent from Western Colorado, Ekeler ranks 11th among active players with 7,175 total scrimmage yards.

His return provides stability in the backfield, where the Chargers have struggled to fortify a reliable backup rotation.

The Bolts also return to fourth-year pro Joshua Kelley, who had 287 yards and two goals last season, and Isaiah Spiller, a fourth-round pick last year who had just 41 yards.

Since the Chargers signed Ekeler, he has amassed 63 touchdowns, joining Hall of Famer Lenny Moore as the only players in NFL history to record at least 25 rushing touchdowns and 25 touchdowns during their careers. first six seasons.


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