With Austin Ekeler’s revised contract up, Chargers ready for Kellen Moore’s new offense

Now that Austin Ekeler's contract situation is resolved, we'll find out what new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has in store for the Chargers.  reverse star.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Now that Austin Ekeler’s contract situation is resolved, we’ll find out what new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has in store for the Chargers’ star running back. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Los Angeles Chargers wrapped up their mandatory two-day minicamp on Wednesday, with star running back Austin Ekeler returning to the team after renegotiating his contract.

Now, with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore in the mix, Ekeler might have even more room to grow.

Ekeler requested a trade earlier this offseason but later rescinded the request after the Chargers reportedly added $2 million in incentives to the final year of his $24.5 million, four-year, 15-year contract. million dollars guaranteed.

“I understand there’s a commercial side to all of this, but I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t try to find more value while I can,” Ekeler said Wednesday. “Because we all have a lifespan.”

Moore, meanwhile, was hired by the Chargers in late January after mutually parting ways with the Dallas Cowboys. Moore has served as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator for the past four years, and his time there may indicate how he decides to use Ekeler.

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard has had a stellar season in 2022, eclipsing 1,000 rushing yards in a season for the first time in his four-year NFL career. After its stellar year, Dallas placed its franchise tag on Pollard. Moore’s direction and play calls allowed Pollard to make full use of his speed in both the running game and the passing game.

Although Ekeler’s exact place in Moore’s attack was unclear until the start of the season, Moore had a proven track record of finding innovative ways to maximize ball carriers and their abilities.

Ekeler spent all six years of his NFL career with the Chargers, rushing for 204 carries for 3,727 yards and 34 touchdowns.

As Ekeler returns to work in Los Angeles, he is confident he can have a good year that will activate his new contract incentives.

“They’re all available,” Ekeler said. “Basically, I just have the same years I’ve had for the past two years. So these are benchmarks, right? Keep playing better. Keep reaching for new benchmarks.

Outside of Ekeler, the Chargers have plenty of other offensive talent Moore can work with, including quarterback Justin Herbert and wide receiver Mike Williams.

“These weapons [are] crazy, like you [have] some big ‘ole receivers,’ linebacker Eric Kendricks said. “Obviously [Herbert] going to throw it where he wants, you know, which is the best quality. You [have] to have someone who is not afraid there, [someone] who will launch it.

The Chargers are out until the start of training camp in late July, but they’re confident they’re on track to get back to the playoffs.

“We definitely feel like we belong in the playoffs. We know we belong in the playoffs,” said safety Derwin James. “All the guys here believe in each other and you’ll see us soon.”

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