Austin Ekeler's next team after Chargers is now painfully obvious

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Even before the 2023 season started it was clear that it would likely be Austin Ekeler's last in Los Angeles. Ekeler and the Chargers could not agree on terms for a contract extension, prompting the running back to seek out a trade.

There were predictably no suitors for Ekeler on the trade market yet the Chargers still did right by Ekeler and added new incentives to his contract so he could earn more. Unfortunately for Ekeler, he put together the worst year as a starter of his career as age-related regression is starting to hit the fantasy football hero.

With a new regime in Los Angeles there is no chance that Ekeler is going to return, especially after the season he had. However, Ekeler could still work with the same front office if he follows the trend of old Chargers joining the Las Vegas Raiders.

Tom Telesco is now running things in Vegas and with Josh Jacobs hitting free agency, the Raiders may be looking for a most cost-effective option to fill out the position. And thanks to Jimmy Garoppolo getting a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance enhancing substance policy, the Raiders now have more money to spend to justify bringing Ekeler in.

Austin Ekeler leaving the Chargers for the Raiders now feels inevitable

Because of the suspension, Jimmy G's guaranteed $11.3 million salary is now off the books. While Ekeler obviously won't cost this much (at that point it would just be worth re-signing Josh Jacobs), it does make it easier to justify signing him with that extra cap space.

Plus, as we have seen even before Telesco was hired, the Raiders love to bring in former Chargers. It has become a real trend and at this point, it would not be surprising if Mark Davis himself gets extra satisfaction from bringing in former players from one of his biggest rivals.

At this point Ekeler is likely looking for whichever team will pay him the most and is not concerned about winning a Super Bowl, so the Raiders being below-average likely doesn't make any difference. Telesco has proven that he has no problem giving Ekeler some extra cash (hence the incentives) and may end up being the highest bidder.

And to button this entire theory up is the fact that Ekeler and his fiancée recently moved to Las Vegas. That move may just be setting the table for the inevitable.

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