The Chargers have signed Ekeler to a four-year, $24.5 million contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Ekeler's contract reportedly includes $15 million in guarantees. The dynamic dual threat was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason, but the Chargers have opted to lock him up for the foreseeable future rather than simply bring him back on a one-year basis. The 24-year-old proved his every-down potential by shouldering the load during the first four games of the 2019 season before Melvin Gordon's holdout came to an end, a span during which he compiled 220 rushing yards and three touchdowns in addition to 24 catches, 270 receiving yards and three additional scores. With Gordon set to test the open market when free agency kicks off March 18, it's conceivable that the Chargers could consider Ekeler as the top backfield option for the 2020 campaign. At the very least, he's a lock to handle a key role on offense.
Ekeler carried the ball nine times for 46 yards and caught nine of 11 targets for 43 yards in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs, While Ekeler was seven yards short of joining just a handful of running backs to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season, it was nevertheless a banner year for the third-year pro as he finished the 2019 campaign with 557 rushing yards, 993 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns. The 24-year-old proved that he could be an every-down back in his short stint as the starter to open 2019 while Melvin Gordon was holding out, but it's unclear whether the Chargers will operate with that same mindset next season. At the very least, Ekeler figures to share time with another back, but whether he's the primary option or a dangerous No. 2 could be one of the biggest questions looming for the Chargers in 2020.
Ekeler carried the ball four times for 11 yards and also registered five receptions for 58 yards in the 24-17 loss Sunday to the Raiders. While Ekeler is well off his career pace of 5.3 yards per carry, the diminutive running back has a slim opportunity to become just the third running back since 1985 to record over 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. The 24-year-old is likely to finish the campaign with over 1,400 scrimmage yards, and Ekeler continues to be one of the better bargains of the 2019 fantasy season relative to his August draft value.
Ekeler carried seven times for 19 yards and caught five of seven targets for an additional 62 yards during Sunday's 39-10 loss to the Vikings. Ekeler did next to nothing on the ground, but he came through with his usual impactful performance as a receiver. He tied for second on the team in receptions while finishing third in targets and receiving yards. Ekeler is now nearing 1,400 scrimmage yards for the season and continues to thrive despite playing behind Melvin Gordon. He should be expected to get double-digit touches next Sunday against the Raiders and will look to continue his efficiency against a vulnerable defense.
Ekeler carried the ball eight times for 101 yards and caught four of five targets for 112 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 45-10 rout of the Jaguars. The 213 scrimmage yards were a career high for the third-year running back, and Ekeler also helped Philip Rivers set a new personal best when he took a short pass early in the third quarter and raced 84 yards to the end zone -- the longest TD pass of the veteran quarterback's career. Ekeler is now 170 receiving yards shy of 1,000 for the year, but he'll have a much tougher matchup in Week 15 when the Chargers host the Vikings.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/20||Kansas City Chiefs||23||20.37|
|4||10/04||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||10.63|
|5||10/13||@New Orleans Saints||4||13.24|
|6||10/18||New York Jets||9||14.50|
|9||11/08||Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|13||12/06||New England Patriots||2||11.94|
|15||12/18||@Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|17||01/03||@Kansas City Chiefs||23||20.37|
|3 Year Avg||95||457||3||53||559||5||144|