Source: Chargers, RB Ekeler reach 4-year deal


The Los Angeles ‪Chargers and restricted free-agent running back Austin Ekeler have agreed to a four-year, $24.5 million deal that includes $15 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.

The source said Ekeler, 24, could make up to $26 million over the course of the deal through incentives.

Ekeler is now scheduled to become a free agent after the 2023 season. Cameron Weiss of Dynamic Sports and Chargers vice president Ed McGuire have been negotiating the deal since early January.

Despite sharing time in the Chargers’ backfield with Melvin Gordon, Ekeler finished tops in the NFL among running backs with eight receiving touchdowns and ranked second with 92 catches last season.

Gordon, who finished with 612 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns in 12 games, is expected to test the free-agent market, a source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Thursday.

Initially a special-teams standout, Ekeler developed into a proven playmaker for the Chargers in the passing game and running game. His 993 receiving yards were the second most by a running back in a single season in team history, as was his reception total.

Per ESPN Stats & Information, Ekeler’s receiving yards after catch (10.3) was second in the NFL last season. His 2,508 scrimmage yards over the past two seasons rank 18th in the NFL during that time period.

Ekeler also rushed for a career-high 557 yards in 2019, handling the bulk of the workload while Gordon missed training camp and the first four regular-season games due to a contract impasse.

Ekeler had a career-high 101 yards rushing and 112 yards receiving — on just 12 total touches — during a 45-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, becoming the only Chargers player to surpass the century mark in both categories in a single game since Lionel James did it in 1985.

Ekeler, who signed with the Chargers in 2017 as an undrafted rookie out of Division II Western State University (Colorado), has shown his durability, playing in all but two games over his three NFL seasons.

ESPN’s Eric D. Williams contributed to this report.

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