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Should the Commanders be interested in Chargers RB Austin Ekeler?

By Bryan Manning,

2023-03-14
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It’s been a busy few days around the NFL. We’ve seen big trades, such as the No. 1 overall pick being moved and Jalen Ramsey being sent to the Miami Dolphins. We’ve seen big deals, such as the Commanders re-signing defensive tackle Daron Payne.

Lost in all was Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler reportedly wanting a trade. Ekeler, 27, has one year remaining on his current contract at $6.25 million in 2023.

How does this relate to the Commanders?

Well, rumors — unverified, of course — were floating around on social media that the Commanders could possibly be interested in the Commanders. Look, this isn’t to debate if Washington is interested, but should the Commanders be interested?

Before you say no, consider things are different from one year ago. The most significant difference is new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Bieniemy isn’t married to any of the running backs on Washington’s current roster.

While Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson can play, perhaps Bieniemy, who has coached against Ekeler throughout his six-year career with the Chargers, wants him as a part of his new offensive in Washington.

In the last two seasons, Ekeler has scored 38 total touchdowns. Not only is he an impact running back, he’s also a terrific receiver. He’s one of only four players in NFL history to score 15 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. Another stat showing Ekeler’s ability as a dual-threat back is he, along with Marshall Faulk, are the only two players in NFL history to have back-to-back seasons with 10 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns.

Gibson is entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2023. J.D. McKissic is also entering the final year of his contract and his career could be in jeopardy due to a neck injury. Robinson is outstanding, but he’s also a different type of back than Ekeler.

Should the Commanders call about Ekeler? Sure. Should they send a high draft pick to the Chargers for Ekeler? No. However, if it’s all about a contract, and you can get him for a conditional pick, you have to consider it a possibility.

Overall, Ekeler to Washington doesn’t make a ton of sense. But that doesn’t mean Ekeler isn’t a phenomenal player. He is, and you always should consider adding terrific players in their prime to your roster.

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