NFL 2024 Free Agency Update: Commanders Secure Deal with Ex-Chargers Standout Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler, a prominent name in the realm of NFL running backs, has embarked on a new chapter in his professional career by signing a two-year deal with the Washington Commanders for the 2024 NFL season. This move was confirmed by CBS Sports HQ NFL insider Josina Anderson. At 28, Ekeler leaves behind a seven-season tenure with the Los Angeles Chargers, a period marked by his exceptional skills, particularly in pass-catching, which set him apart in the league.

Before making his decision, Ekeler had also garnered interest from the Las Vegas Raiders, as reported by Anderson. However, the opportunity to work again with Anthony Lynn, his former head coach at the Chargers and now the Commanders’ run-game coordinator, swayed his decision towards Washington. This transition comes at a time when the Commanders were looking to fill the vacancy left by Antonio Gibson, who earlier that day had signed with the New England Patriots. Ekeler is expected to bring his dynamic play to the Commanders’ backfield, sharing responsibilities with Brian Robinson Jr., the team’s leading rusher in 2023.

During his time with the Chargers, Ekeler established himself as one of the NFL’s elite pass-catching backs. He consistently exceeded 50 receptions over the last five seasons, with two seasons surpassing 90 catches, including a career-high 107 receptions in 2022. In 2019, he nearly reached 1,000 receiving yards, showcasing his versatility and threat in the passing game. However, the 2023 season saw a slight dip in his rushing efficiency, with an average of just 3.5 yards per carry and missing three games due to an ankle injury.

Ekeler’s move is part of a broader trend of running backs finding new teams, a notable occurrence in the NFL landscape on that particular Monday. Other key running backs, including Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, D’Andre Swift, and Gus Edwards, also secured deals with new teams, marking a significant reshuffling of talent across the league.