3 Most Likely Austin Ekeler Replacements After Announced Departure

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
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The Austin Ekeler era in Los Angeles has come to an end. After a down season that saw the running back's numbers fall across the board, Ekeler announced that he will not be back with the Chargers as he heads into free agency.

How can the Chargers replace Austin Ekeler?

After impressive back-to-back seasons with at least 15 touchdowns, Ekeler averaged a career-low 3.7 yards per carry this season, scoring a total of six touchdowns.

Part of the problem was obviously the offensive line which struggled in Corey Linsley's absence. Regardless, the running back rotation failed to live up to the expectations that were heightened after the addition of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and his run-first mentality.

One of the best running backs in Chargers history, Ekeler will be sorely missed. Signing on as an undrafted free agent, Ekeler quickly became a fan favorite in Los Angeles and will be hard to replace. However, a changing of the guard might be necessary for the Chargers with not only Ekeler but also Joshua Kelley hitting free agency.

The problem for the Chargers is the fact that they don't have too much money to spend this offseason. They have more pressing needs in other positions, and they justifiably don't want to spend their already limited resources on a running back. So, the Chargers will not be able to chase one of the marquee running backs on the market like Saquon Barkley or Josh Jacobs.

Fortunately for them, there are enough rushers in their price range that they should be able to get a productive RB1. Selecting one in the 2024 NFL Draft and having them in a committee with a potential free agent signing could be another option. Isaiah Spiller who hasn't done much since being drafted in 2022 could get a shot in the rotation next season as well.

Let's take a look at the best free agent candidates to replace Austin Ekeler.