Why Chargers likely won't trade Austin Ekeler during 2023 NFL Draft
The Chargers are in no rush
When it's come to playing hardball on contracts, the Chargers have traditionally not blinked first. Four years ago with Melvin Gordon, they stood on their initial offer and didn't budge despite the holdout. When Melvin Ingram held in, they let it play out through training camp before guaranteeing the last year of his deal.
So far, the Chargers have held firm on their stance with Ekeler. Contract negotiations were broken off after the two sides couldn't come to terms and Los Angeles effectively made it clear to Ekeler that his primary option was to play out the last year of his deal. Right now, there's no expectation that the Chargers would come back to the negotiating table first. If anything, Ekeler might after seeing his market.
Could the Chargers flip Ekeler in this draft for a fourth-rounder? It's not out of the realm of possibility, but I'm not sure they want to handicap the rest of their draft by creating an immediate hole at running back to be filled. Tom Telesco and the Chargers' front office as a whole know that they hold the leverage in the Ekeler situation. Not making any play is the best play in that scenario.