Chargers star Austin Ekeler's won't be playing for a different NFL team in 2023. The versatile running back, who requested a trade earlier this offseason because of his contract situation, will remain with Los Angeles for the upcoming season after $1.75 million in incentives was added to his contract, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
Ekeler has one year remaining on a four-year, $24.5 million deal (with $15 million guaranteed) that he signed in 2020. His current projected market value is a three-year deal worth $12.82 million annually, according to Spotrac.
His added incentives include up to $1M for total yards (tiers from 1,125 to 1,639), up to $600K for total touchdowns (tiers from 10 to 16) and $150K for a Pro Bowl berth, according to NFL Media.
Ekeler, who was signed by the Chargers as an undrafted rookie back in 2017, said in March that he wanted to stay in Los Angeles but only under the right circumstances.
"It literally has nothing to do with the relationship," Ekeler said during an appearance on "Green Light with Chris Long" podcast, via NFL Media. "I've made a great relationship there. Grown there. That's where I started. So, I want to be there, but on the right terms. Because I know, look, I can't play forever. I think I can play for a long time just the way I play and the way I treat myself and my mentality."
The 28-year-old running back has been one of the NFL's most productive skill players over the past two seasons after injuries limited him to 10 games in 2020. Over the past two seasons, Ekeler has run for 1,826 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has also caught 177 passes for 1,369 yards and 13 touchdowns over that span.
Ekeler is coming off a 2022 season that saw him run for 13 scores while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He also caught a 107 passes -- an almost unheard of number for a running back -- for 722 yards and five touchdowns. In 89 career games (with 54 starts), Ekeler has run for 34 scores and has caught 29 more touchdowns for Los Angeles. He's amassed 7,125 total yards over that span while having nearly as many receiving yards as rushing yards.
Ekeler is part of one of the NFL's best skill units that also features quarterback Justin Herbert and veteran wideouts Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Josh Palmer. Last season, the Chargers' offense finished 13th in the NFL in scoring, third in passing, eighth in third down efficiency and 20th in red zone efficiency. They were just 30th in the league in rushing, however, with Ekeler's 915 rushing yards accounting for just over 60% of his team's entire rushing total.
The Chargers didn't add any running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft, but they did add two receivers. In fact, the Chargers drafted two wideouts from the same college team in TCU's Quentin Johnston (with the 21st overall pick) and Derius Davis (with the 125th pick). They also drafted former TCU quarterback Max Duggan with the 239th overall pick. Last fall, the trio helped the Horned Frogs reach the College Football Championship while averaging a whopping 38.8 points per game.