The most surprising storyline of the LA Chargers offseason was Austin Ekeler's sudden request to seek out a trade. Of all the potential players that the Bolts could have lost this offseason, Ekeler was not someone who many fans expected to potentially leave.
Ekeler is entering the last year of his contract and has a $6.25 million salary. The Chargers inked Ekeler to a four-year extension before he truly broke out and as a result, got an excellent deal on the dual-threat running back compared to what he would have cost if the team waited.
Wanting to make what he believes is market value, Ekeler was in the process of working out an extension and pay bump with the Bolts but the two sides could not make any progress. Claiming that he is making half of what he should be making, Ekeler requested to seek out a trade so he could go to a team that would give him an extension that pays him properly.
The only problem is that no team seemingly wants to pay Ekeler what he wants. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler shared the intel he has received and it doesn't look good for the Chargers' back.
"Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, who wants a trade due to a contract stalemate, has teams interested in potentially trading for him, but the desired new deal could be prohibitive. "
NFL Rumors: Chargers aren't alone as other teams seemingly don't want to pay Austin Ekeler either
As unfortunate as it is for Ekeler, this was a rather predictable outcome. The fact of the matter is that the running back market is not what it used to be and teams no longer are paying big money to running backs. Other teams have learned from the Dallas Cowboys' mistake after they ended up cutting Ezekiel Elliott before his contract even expired.
Miles Sanders got the biggest deal this offseason and he is making in the same ballpark that Ekeler is currently making. Sure, Ekeler has been more productive in recent years but there are additional factors that are naturally holding him back.
As great as his numbers have been, Ekeler is 28 years old and any new deal is going to pay him into his 30s. Running backs have a tendency to regress without warning and 30 is typically the benchmark that starts that regression. A team would be paying Ekeler future money for past performance and every team in the league knows this.
At the end of the day, Ekeler's demands are unrealistic and that is ultimately what might keep him from being traded. Ekeler has every right to fight for himself and a larger payday but just because he has that right does not mean he will get what he wants.