By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Published on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 1:01 AM EST
The Los Angeles Chargers have re-signed Austin Ekeler. He was set to be a restricted free agent.
The Chargers did not wait until another team offered him a contract. Instead, they signed him to a four-year, $24.5 million deal.
Ekeler will make $15 million in guaranteed money.
“It feels a little overwhelming, but it’s a relief,” Ekeler said during a conference call Friday. “We were going back and forth for a month. We were pretty far apart at first but once we kept getting closer it started to become a real possibility.”
There is a very good chance that he will now be the team’s featured back. Melvin Gordon III will depart the team via free agency.
“I can see myself being more of a leader vocally,” Ekeler said. “My role will be bigger than last year with more opportunities.”
Ekeler was an undrafted free agent that was signed by the Chargers. He has been with the team for the last three seasons.
This past season, he appeared in 16 games, including eight starts. He had 132 carries for 557 yards and three touchdowns.
The 24-year-old — who will be 25 on May 17th — has appeared in 46 NFL games, including 11 starts. He has had 285 carries for 1,371 yards and eight touchdowns.
He has also had 158 receptions for 1,676 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“He can handle the touches. Would you want to have him carry the ball 30, 35 times a game, which hardly anybody does anymore? I think we’d want to pair him with anybody,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said of Ekeler. “He can do so much with the football with the amount of touches he gets. It doesn’t just have to be as a running back. We can put him in the slot. We can put him out wide. He’s a pretty dangerous player for us and a big part of our offense. He’s going to play a lot.”
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