Jim Harbaugh Makes Surprise Comment on Austin Ekeler's Chargers Future

New Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbugh made a surprise comment on Austin Ekeler's future with the team.
Dec 10, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) runs
Dec 10, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) runs / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With revered coach Jim Harbaugh now at the helm, many are expecting big changes to the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason. Harbaugh will be tasked with helping turn this struggling franchise around, which is sure to include some major shakeups ahead of 2024.

One area that might look different for Los Angeles this upcoming season is the backfield, as veteran RB Austin Ekeler has made it clear he's ready to walk away from the Chargers.

Yet, Harbaugh has now made an unexpected bid to possible keep Ekeler around.

While in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, Harbaugh told the Associated Press that Ekeler is a "tremendous back." The reigning college football national champion also revealed L.A. would "love to have him on the team next year."

This is a definite surprise. Ekeler doesn't appear intent on seriously pursuing a reunion, but perhaps Harbuagh's arrival could wash away the bitter taste the late regime left.

From Harbaugh's perspective, though, there's a case to be made against re-signing Ekeler. The once-electric back has seen a drop-off in his effectiveness over the past two seasons, which appears to be a sign of the dreaded RB decline all greats at the position eventually suffer.

Given his past productivity, Ekeler still has a leg to stand on in contract negotiations, which could lead him to pursue a nice payday. The risks of paying an older running back are known across the league, so spending to keep Ekeler when the Chargers have much more pressing needs would not be wise.

Perhaps this Harbaugh just attempting to end on nice terms with Ekeler given his importance to this team and fanbase over the past couple of years. However, it seems as though this partnership isn't officially over just yet.

In other Chargers news: