Austin Ekeler Free Agency Predictions: Landing Spots Include Raiders, Texans, and Buccaneers

Austin Ekeler's time with the Chargers could come to an end in free agency. What are some potential landing spots for the veteran running back?

Austin Ekeler has been a significant contributor for the Los Angeles Chargers for some time now, quite the accomplishment for a player who began his time with the franchise as an undrafted free agent back in 2017. Ekeler looks poised to leave the organization this offseason as a free agent, however, with new head coach Jim Harbaugh potentially looking elsewhere at a position that’s crucial to his offense.

We take a look at some potential landing spots that could make sense for Ekeler if he ultimately does end up elsewhere.

Austin Ekeler Free Agency Landing Spots

Ekeler has been a consistent playmaker for the Chargers across much of his seven-year NFL career. He has gone for 900+ combined rushing and receiving yards in each of the last six seasons after playing sparingly as a rookie in 2017.

The veteran remains productive even at 28 years old and is coming off a strong 2023 season. Ekeler ran for 628 yards and five touchdowns while catching 51 passes for 436 yards and one score across the year.

That production is down a bit from his peak numbers but still strong, as they came in 14 starts with three games missed due to injury.

Los Angeles could certainly look to keep him, but rumors that Harbaugh could pursue other high-level backs, such as Saquon Barkley, could bring an end to Ekeler’s tenure with the organization.

Ekeler Replaces Josh Jacobs as Raiders’ Lead Back

Las Vegas has a key free agent running back of its own this offseason in Jacobs and could look to move on from him, depending on how the market shakes out. Jacobs is 26 years old and has been highly productive at times, but he has also dealt with some recent injury issues that could incentivize the Raiders to move on from him.

Signing Ekeler would provide a readymade replacement in the backfield for Antonio Pierce to work with in his first season as head coach. Ekeler’s estimated market value on Spotrac is also close to $3 million in average annual value lower than Jacobs’ projected mark.

All of those factors could make Ekeler a good fit with Las Vegas in 2024.

Ekeler Gives Texans Another Dynamic Offensive Playmaker

Houston is on the heels of a resurgent 2023 season under first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans and could look to bolster its core of offensive playmakers as it aims to build on that success in 2024. The Texans bring back a pair of rookie sensations in quarterback C.J. Stroud and wide receiver Tank Dell but did not have a dynamite contributor at running back.

Devin Singletary was the team’s leading rusher in 2023, but he is also slated for free agency, while secondary threat Dameon Pierce remains under contract. Adding Ekeler as the feature back to pair with Pierce could make plenty of sense at the right price.

Stroud certainly would not complain about having another prolific playmaker to work with.

Baker Mayfield Gets Much-Needed Help in Backfield

It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been one of the worst teams at running the ball in recent years.

Rachaad White was a serviceable lead option this past season, but the Bucs struggled to find much production elsewhere as Baker Mayfield often shouldered much of the offensive load.

KEEP READING: Top Free Agent Running Backs

Ekeler could certainly help in that regard, providing a second proven option at the position who could help take pressure off Mayfield, assuming Tampa Bay is also able to re-sign him in free agency. Either way, having Ekeler around could be helpful to take pressure off of whoever takes the reins under center.

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