Chargers RB Austin Ekeler reportedly allowed to seek trade amid contract extension talks

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Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Eckler reportedly looking for a new contract or a new team ESPN’s Adam Schefter monday. On Tuesday it appears Eckler will begin the search for a new team.

Through Schefter, the Chargers have reportedly granted the 27-year-old permission seek a trade after his failure to make progress on a new contract, according to Eckler’s agent, Cameron Weiss.

Weiss previously told Shakhtar that Eckler requested permission talk to other teams after contract extension talks with the Chargers stalled.

Eckler signed a four-year, $24.5 million in 2020 and will enter the final year of that contract with only a $7.75 million salary cap hit. He has scored 38 combined touchdowns over the past two seasons, which leads the NFL among skill position players. He has finished the last two seasons with at least 900 rushing yards and at least 12 rushing touchdowns.

Austin Eckler led the NFL in 2022 with 18 combined touchdowns. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This is a major development for the future of the Chargers and the running back position.

Eckler is arguably the Chargers’ most consistent player behind Justin Herbert, who will be eligible for a contract extension next season. Los Angeles restructured the contract of veteran receiver Keenan Allen this offseason, but also has a lot of money tied up in wideout Mike Williams and $19.07 million in cap space, per over the cap,

Although Eckler is one of the best scoring backs in the NFL, his average annual value ranks 15th in the league. He will be 28 by the time the 2023 season starts. He has missed only one match in the last two seasons. Likewise older running backs like Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott earn more than Eckler.

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The Chargers’ rusher will also have look to young running backs like Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard who are looking for long-term extensions this offseason as well. All three are currently on the franchise tag of their respective teams.