The NFL trade block just got an influx of game-changer talent on Tuesday with the official addition of Los Angeles Chargers star Austin Ekeler.
On Monday, word came out of Los Angeles that things were not well between the Chargers and stud running back Austin Ekeler. The man with the most touchdowns from scrimmage over the last two seasons was looking for a long-term extension and there had not been much progress toward receiving a raise on the very team-friendly $6.2 million he is set to make next season.
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With little development on an extension, Austin Ekeler reportedly asked the team if he and his representation could seek out a trade to a team willing to pay him the sort of money he deserves. Many league insiders and observers figured there would be no way that the Los Angeles Chargers would acquiesce to such a request. Well, they were wrong.
On Tuesday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that Ekeler’s agent Cameron Weiss informed him that the “Chargers granted permission” for him and his client to seek out a trade partner after the two sides “failed to make progress for a new contract.”
With Austin Ekeler now on the trade block, we offer up four teams that could make a push for his talents in the coming days.
On Tuesday, despite re-signing Raheem Mostert the Miami Dolphins were rumored to be interested in the growing Dalvin Cook trade market. If the ‘Fins are that interested in taking a big swing for a running back, Ekeler could require a lesser return than the one needed for a four-time Pro Bowler like Cook. Plus, there is a case to be made that the Chargers star is a better fit for their pass-heavy offense.
It would be a bold move for the Dolphins, but it would be the second blockbuster trade for them this month after acquiring superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey last week.
With the Denver Broncos making big moves already in NFL free agency to improve the offense under new head coach Sean Payton, trading for Austin Ekeler would make a lot of sense. The 27-year-old mirrors players like Reggie Bush and Alvin Kamara that have starred in Payton’s offensive schemes.
Although they exhausted many good draft assets in their trade for Russell Wilson last year, they could pique the Los Angeles Chargers’ interest if they added Jerry Jeudy to the deal. A player they have been looking to move since this past season.
The Chicago Bears are a major player this offseason as they have made a slew of big moves in NFL free agency and a blockbuster trade that moved them down nine spots in the NFL Draft but landed them talented wide receiver DJ Moore.
The team is very high on the talents of QB Justin Fields. But if he is to reach his potential the young star needs more talent around him. Ekeler could be a huge help to him and the offense and the team have the assets and cap space to make a trade and contract extension happen.
The Houston Texans are similar to the Bears in that they have the money and the assets to be a top contender in an Austin Ekeler trade market. The team is guaranteed to take a quarterback with their top pick in the NFL Draft, and a dual-threat running back would be a massive help to a young signal-caller looking to make their way through a difficult debut season in the league.
The Texans need to make a splash for new head coach DeMeco Ryans, and trading for Austin Ekeler would be a great way to do that.