The Austin Ekeler trade situation is the biggest storyline surrounding the LA Chargers this offseason and it does not look like it is going to resolve any time soon. Ekeler and the team have not made any progress on extension talks and the new running back market may defeat Ekeler's entire goal in this process.
With this in mind, many fans have turned towards the 2023 NFL Draft to look at new potential running backs that could replace Ekeler. The Bolts don't have to go with a young unproven rookie, though, as the team could also look to utilize the free-agent market.
One name that seemingly made sense for the Bolts was Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott's flaws aside, he has ties to offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and could have been a cheap option with experience to bring in after the Dallas Cowboys released him.
While it seemed to make some sense on paper, it does not appear that Elliott is going to be donning the powder blue any time soon. The former All-Pro running back has narrowed down his list of teams. The Bolts did not make the cut.
Ezekiel Elliott is not an Austin Ekeler replacement option for the Chargers.
If the Chargers wanted to bring in an established running back to replace Austin Ekeler then they are running out of options. Most of the market has dried up with promising options like Damien Harris signing one-year deals with other teams this spring.
If Elliott is indeed out of the picture for the Chargers it will be interesting to see what the team does at the running back position sans Ekeler. Of course, there is always the chance that Ekeler simply returns and at this point it might be a necessity.
Bijan Robinson is at the top of most fans' wish list in the 2023 NFL Draft but it seems unlikely that he will fall to 21. Jahmyr Gibbs is another exciting option but is that really someone who the team is going to be comfortable taking at 21?
It is certainly going to be an interesting situation to watch unfold. Before this news, Zeke could have been viewed as a get out of jail free card as the team could have signed a big-name option to take on a load of the snaps for one year.
Instead, the Bolts are going to be left scrambling if they do indeed trade Ekeler this offseason.