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Austin Ekeler relieved to get long-term deal done…

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Austin Ekeler relieved to get long-term deal done...

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Austin Ekeler was scheduled to become a restricted free agent March 18. Ekeler, though, became the first player on PFT’s list of top-100 free agents to sign a new deal.

The running back, who made $645,000 last season, agreed to a four-year, $24.5 million contract extension with the Chargers that includes $15 million guaranteed.

Feels a little overwhelming,” Ekeler said, via Gilbert Manzano of the Orange County Register. “Coming from a spot where I’ve had some success on the football field, but now it seems like I’m also getting compensated for that as well. Before I kinda felt like I was giving the Chargers a little discount, but had to happen for me to get to this point, so it feels a little overwhelming, but also like a little relief at the same time.”

He owes Melvin Gordon.

Ekeler, 24, signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He contributed on special teams as a rookie, playing only 18 percent of the offensive snaps, before taking over as the team’s lead back during Gordon’s holdout last season.

Ekeler played 57 percent of the offensive snaps in 2019, gained 1,550 all-purpose yards and scored 11 total touchdowns.

Gordon is expected to hit the open market in nine days, with Ekeler having proved his worth.

“I think it helped me with getting exposure,” Ekeler said of starting the first four games. “Carrying more of the workload than what I’m usually used to, and that was a little trail for me to see, ‘Hey, can this guy carry the rock for an NFL team? And do it week in and week out?’ So I had a little four-week stretch there, kinda had a couple good games.”

Austin Ekeler relieved to get long-term deal done with Chargers

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