Austin Ekeler's recent IG comments don't bode well for his Chargers future
Austin Ekeler has received permission from the LA Chargers to seek out a trade after the two sides could not make progress on a contract extension. Ekeler is in the last year of his contract and is set to make $7.75 million, per Over The Cap.
This is a situation where the business side of the league is shining through as it is hard to blame either party for their decisions in this process. Austin Ekeler wants to get a raise after producing at a high clip over the last two years and he has every right to feel that way.
The Chargers, however, know that there is danger in giving a running back a third contract. Running backs regress quicker than any position in the league and paying Ekeler future money for past performance is a dangerous thing. We already saw some regression out of Ekeler last season as a true runner.
Business in business and while nobody from the Chargers brass has commented on the situation, Ekeler made his first public comments on Instagram on Tuesday. And if we are reading between the tea leaves, it does not look like great for his future in LA.
The discourse around Ekeler has gotten a bit out of hand with Chargers fans turning on him as quickly as they did Melvin Gordon. It is one thing to say the Chargers shouldn't pay him, it is another to bash him in the process. Those messages seem to be getting to Ekeler, who already seems pretty distanced from that logo he plays for.
Austin Ekeler's Chargers situation might be deeper than we thought.
It is hard to feel confident about him returning to the team after this has happened and how the fanbase has reacted. Business-related issues like this can kill a relationship between a player and the team, and more importantly, a player and the fanbase.
There could be more to this situation than Ekeler just wanting a raise. Of course, that is at the center of the entire situation and is the biggest factor, but it also would not be surprising if Ekeler felt some kind of disrespect for how the team handled the situation behind closed doors. We as fans would never know.
This offseason has been a weird one for Ekeler. During Super Bowl week he allowed Skip Bayless to grill Justin Herbert and didn't really offer a counter, which turned a large portion of the fanbase sour. Perhaps that was the foreshadowing that we all should have realized that would lead to this.
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Regardless, it always sucks to see a high-performing fan favorite leave the team, especially when the relationship ends with possible hostility.