COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is requesting permission to speak with other teams about a potential trade after preliminary talks with the team aimed at a contract extension failed to progress, his agent Cameron Weiss told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Ekeler, 27, is entering the final season of a four-year, $24.5 million contract and is scheduled to earn $6.25 million.
Last season, Ekeler played a pivotal role in the Chargers earning their first playoff berth in four seasons before they were eliminated in a 31-30 wild-card playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ekeler led the NFL with 18 touchdowns while rushing for 915 yards on 204 carries and catching 107 passes for 722 yards. An often-used target out of the backfield, Ekeler also led the NFL with 822 yards after the catch.
The Chargers entered the offseason $20.5 million over the 2023 salary cap, but cleared $40.37 million in space to become salary-cap compliant by restructuring the contracts of receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and edge rusher Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.
They are on the clock to sign Justin Herbert to a record-breaking extension as the quarterback prepares for the fourth season of a five-year rookie deal.
The Chargers signed Ekeler as an undrafted free agent in 2017 from Western State Colorado. He earned a starting role in 2019, signed his latest deal as a restricted free agent following the 2020 season and has since anchored a running back corps that has struggled to produce behind him.
In six seasons, Ekeler has rushed for 3,727 yards and 34 touchdowns and has caught 389 passes for 3,448 yards.
Ekeler and Hall of Famer Lenny Moore are the only players in NFL history to record 25 rushing touchdowns and 25 receiving touchdowns in their first six seasons of the NFL.
Since entering the NFL in 2017, Ekeler ranks 11th among active players with 7,175 total scrimmage yards.
Running backs Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller and Larry Rountree III remain on the roster.