Chargers star running back austin ekeler He will remain in Los Angeles this season after agreeing to a revised contract that adds $1.75 million in incentives just months after requesting a trade.
The deal, reported Tuesday by the NFL Network and ESPN, increases Ekeler’s salary for 2023 from the $6.25 million he was due to earn in the final year of his contract.
The restructuring follows Ekeler’s public criticism of his previous contract and his desire to negotiate a long-term deal with the Chargers.
CHARGERS’ AUSTIN EKELER FELT ‘DISRESPECTED’ AFTER FAILED CONTRACT TALKS: ‘A PUNCH IN THE FACE’
In March, it was widely reported that Ekeler requested permission to seek a trade, which the Chargers granted after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. He spoke on the «Green Light with Chris Long» podcast at the time and said he was «underpaid» and «relentlessly going after someone who loved me.»
He later said during a radio interview that he felt «disrespected» by the organization after failed negotiations.
«I got punched in the face when the Chargers basically said, ‘Hey, we don’t want to talk about extensions anymore,'» he told SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio in April.
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«This is the organization where I continued to rise and reach new heights and continue to add more value…so, that’s what it felt like, right? It felt like, ‘Wow, this is the first time in my career with them. . that I felt disrespected by my own organization.'»
Ekeler led the league last season with 18 scrimmage touchdowns and has scored an NFL-high 38 touchdowns over the past two seasons. He expressed his desire to remain with the Chargers, but added that he was prepared to enter the free agency market at the end of next season.
«Look, I guess worst-case scenario right now: I’ll come back and have to play for the Chargers for a year and bet on myself and then be a free agent next year.»
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Head coach Brandon Staley spoke to reporters Monday and said he expects Ekeler to show up for the mandatory minicamp next month.
«He’s one of the best running backs in the league the last two seasons. He’s been a captain for us. We really have the utmost respect for him and the situation has been respectful on both sides and we’re looking forward to this spring, and we I’ll give you updates if there are any.»
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Ekeler is entering the final year of his four-year, $24.5 million contract.