Austin Ekeler went into the offseason looking for a new contract. At one point, he even demanded a trade from the team if they were not willing to pay him. Ultimately, he agreed to a restructuring of the contract but has made it known that he isn’t pleased with it. In an interview on Tuesday, Ekeler blasted the team calling out their hypocrisy in the negotiations.
Austin Ekeler Calls Out Los Angeles Chargers
Here’s where Ekeler has a problem. The team was telling him that they are not trading him unless they were getting high picks. They think he is worth premium draft capital. However, when looking to extend him, the best they can do is restructure. Ekeler talked about this at length in an interview with Zach Gelb on CBS Sports Radio.
“No, and that’s because I came with a lot of baggage. You were going to have to trade some high picks for me. The Chargers, they weren’t going to let me go for anything that wasn’t up there, so they saw my value there. It’s funny how when they allow me the trade, they’re like, ‘OK, but we want you to get these types of picks,’ which were not low picks, ‘but we’re not going to pay you like you’re that type of player.’ So, it’s kind of interesting where it’s like, ‘Oh, if you’re going to get traded, you got to get traded at this level, but if we’re going to keep you, we’re going to keep you down here at this level.’
It’s easy to see why Ekeler and other running backs are upset. Teams are telling them how important they are but aren’t willing to pay up.
A Breaking Point In The Running Back Market?
Something is going to have to give here. Teams will not be able to continue to get away with simply finding the next guy. At some point, teams are going to have to pony up the money for a premium skill position. However, the running backs also may need to have more realistic expectations for their contracts. There is a compromise that simply has not been found. One thing is for sure, the anger amongst running backs is real and it will be interesting to see if there are any lasting consequences.
This is most likely the last year Austin Ekeler will be with the Los Angeles Chargers. With this latest statement, it is hard to see why he would want to return to the team.