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Austin Ekeler, Chargers ink four-year deal worth $24.5 million

Dynamic receiver and runner Austin Ekeler will lead the Chargers at running back in 2020.

Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers cuts back after breaking a tackle from Will Compton #51 of the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 22, 2019 in Carson, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Austin Ekeler was a beast last year. Without Melvin Gordon in the first four games of the season, he went off for 220 yards rushing for three touchdowns and 24 receptions for 270 yards and three more touchdowns. His numbers slowed down with Gordon back from his holdout in Week 5, but he still managed to total 1,550 yards and 11 touchdowns on 224 touches. Ekeler is a restricted free agent and his big 2019 just helped him secure his bag, as he’s getting a reported four-year deal worth $24.5 million and $15 million guaranteed, per Adam Schefter.

The question for fantasy football is, will Melvin Gordon, an unrestricted free agency come back or will Justin Jackson, who will be with the Chargers in 2020, take Gordon’s spot or will Ekeler take over as the lead back?

Gordon will test free agency, as reported recently by Josina Anderson and all signs point to him not being with the Chargers next season. I believe the ship has sailed on Gordon. Justin Jackson has looked good in limited work, but Ekeler has been so dynamic, that logic dictates that Ekeler will be ahead of Jackson in work.

The Chargers don’t seem intent on making Ekeler a back who sees 15-20 rushing attempts a game, as his receiving ability and production are better than his between the tackles rushing. Jackson should still be needed to take some of those rushing attempts, but Ekeler will remain the no doubt No. 1 back.

Ekeler’s fantasy prospects should continue to be great, as he puts up receiving numbers like a Top-20 receiver and adds rushing and touchdowns on the ground to push him likely into the first round of any PPR draft.