Potential Austin Ekeler trade partner: 2. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have a running back situation of their own this offseason. It is unclear if Joe Mixon is going to play for the Bengals this upcoming season. While head coach Zac Taylor has come out in support of Mixon, these situations could fall apart quickly and the front office could look to replace him with another option.
The Bengals did draft Chase Brown in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft and the team has depth at the running back position to stay afloat without Mixon. But if the Bengals want to have as dynamic of an offense next season then they should look to replace him with someone like Ekeler.
In fact, there is even more of a reason to want Ekeler as the Bengals lose Samaje Perine this offseason. Perine was the team's best receiving back last season and Ekeler is a rich man's version of Perine. If you add Ekeler to that offense with Joe Burrow's quick-strike throws the Bengals could do something special.
Of course, that would mean helping out a potential AFC contender that the Chargers may have to play in the playoffs. But if Cincinnati is willing to pay a premium price for Ekeler then the Chargers have to do what is best for the team.
Again, it all hinges on what happens with Mixon. If he is on the team and gets a new deal then Ekeler would never be a fit for the Bengals.