12 Chargers Who Won't Return Next Season

Jim Harbaugh is ushering in an era of change for the Chargers, and that will start with bidding farewell to plenty of familiar faces.

Oct 29, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30)
Oct 29, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Chargers clearly needed change. There are only so many years you can get excited about a roster that looks on paper like it should be a contender, only to finish the season with disappointment.

That change has finally come with John Harbaugh taking over as head coach, and you can expect that move to only be the tip of the iceberg. Look for the roster to get as much of a facelift as the coaching staff.

Of course, bringing in new faces means saying goodbye to some old ones, and these 12 Chargers won't be returning for the 2024 NFL season.

1. Austin Ekeler

Even though Austin Ekeler walked his comments back the next day, finishing the season by saying "I'm not going to be with these guys anymore ... sad that it has to end" isn't exactly an indicator that he expects to stay in L.A.

And whether he wants to stay or not, he'd really have to take a big discount for things to make sense on the Chargers' end.

There's no denying that he's had an outstanding career, and he's a fan-favorite for a reason. He racked up over 8,000 scrimmage yards over his seven years with the team, scoring 69 touchdowns. But he's also a running back.

As a great one, he'll likely be commanding a hefty contract in free agency. But how many times has giving a running back a big contract actually worked out for a team in recent years? Ekeler already has 1,430 career touches to his name, and it's noteworthy that his efficiency really fell off a cliff in 2023.

I'll attribute some of that to the offense struggling in general, but how much do you want to spend gambling on a bounce-back?

It will be sad to see Ekeler go, but the writing has been on the wall for a while now, and it's not exactly going to be a surprise when he signs somewhere else in free agency.