Chargers give Austin Ekeler permission to seek trade

Lindsey ThiryESPNRead for 2 minutes

The Los Angeles Chargers have cleared running back Austin Ekeler to seek a trade after the two sides failed to move forward on a new contract, his agent, Cameron Weiss, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Ekeler, 27, enters the final season of a four-year, $24.5 million contract and is expected to earn $6.25 million. He asked for permission to speak to other teams on Monday.

Last season, Ekeler played a vital role in the Chargers, earning their first playoff berth in four seasons before being eliminated in a 31-30 wild card playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ekeler led the NFL with 18 touchdowns as he rushed for 915 yards on 204 carries and caught 107 passes for 722 yards. A frequently used backfield target, Ekeler also led the NFL with 822 yards after the catch.

The Chargers entered the off-season with $20.5 million over the 2023 salary cap, but cleared $40.37 million to meet the cap through the contracts of curators Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and edge rusher Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack to restructure.

They’re on the clock to sign Justin Herbert for a record-breaking overtime as the quarterback prepares for the fourth season of a five-year rookie deal.

The Chargers signed Ekeler as an undrafted free agent in 2017 from Western State Colorado. He earned a starting role in 2019, signed his final deal as a restricted free agent after the 2020 season, and has since anchored a declining corps that has struggled to get behind him.

In six seasons, Ekeler rushed for 3,727 yards and 34 touchdowns and caught 389 passes for 3,448 yards.

Ekeler and Hall of Famer Lenny Moore are the only players in NFL history to record 25 rushing touchdowns and 25 receiving touchdowns in their first six NFL seasons.

Since joining the NFL in 2017, Ekeler ranks 11th among active players with a total of 7,175 yards from scrimmage.

Running backs Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller and Larry Rountree III remain on the roster.

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