The Los Angeles Chargers ensured that their next starting quarterback will have a fan favorite and workhorse running back at their disposal for the long run.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter,, the Chargers have given running back Austin Ekeler a four-year contract extension worth $24.5 million. The soon-to-be 25-year-old was a restricted free agent after completing his three-year rookie deal.
Ekeler surpassed the 500-yard rushing mark for the second straight season, but he did most of his damage in the pass-catching game. Ekeler finished 2019 with 92 receptions for 993 yards and eight touchdowns, all career highs.
With Ekeler now signed long-term, it’s widely believed that the Chargers plan to move on from top running back Melvin Gordon. The latter missed the first three games of the 2019 season after engaging in a holdout, hoping to receive a new contract.
The Chargers wouldn’t give it to Gordon, and he struggled with consistency throughout 2019. Ekeler and Justin Jackson performed nicely without Gordon last year, and the latter figures to receive a lucrative deal in free agency.
With Ekeler now extended, the Chargers can focus entirely on finding their new quarterback. The team has already moved on from Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer Philip Rivers, who’s slated to enter free agency.
The Chargers have been heavily mentioned as a possible suitor for Tom Brady; his contract is voited on March 17. Other possible candidates for the Chargers to pursue include Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater, Cam Newton, Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill, Andy Dalton and Nick Foles.
The Chargers will most certainly be one of the most desired free agent destinations. The market, new stadium (to be shared with the Rams) and tremendous supporting cast – Ekeler, Jackson, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry – will certainly appeal to the top free agents. Now, they have to focus on finding a new quarterback while extending Henry, a pending free agent.
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