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April 21, 2023

NFL rumors: Does Austin Ekeler make sense for the Eagles?

A recent mock draft sees the Eagles sending the 30th overall pick to L.A. for the all-purpose back.

No, the Eagles and Howie Roseman will probably not be pulling the trigger on another blockbuster, first-round draft-day trade — as CBS Sports projects they will in their latest mock draft.

According to a recent seven-round mock draft from Chris Trapasso, after staying put at No. 10 overall and taking pass rusher Jalen Carter, the Eagles will be sending No. 30 overall to the Chargers in exchange for playmaking running back Austin Ekeler and the 54th pick.

For whatever reason, those who do not pay extremely close attention to the Eagles fail to see that the team simply does not value running back all that much.

Currently, they are slated to head into the season with Kenny Gainwell, Rashaad Penny and Boston Scott sharing duties behind Jalen Hurts. The team may take a flier on a late-round running back, but it seems pretty unlikely they'd spend valuable draft capital on a position they didn't want to spend $6 million at to keep Miles Sanders around.

Ekeler is not happy being paid around the same $6 million in L.A. that Sanders just signed for in Carolina. Here's what he recently said, which stirred up rumors of a new home for the fantasy football stud:

“I’m so underpaid right now as far as my contract and what I contribute to the team, it’s like, I am relentlessly pursuing this,” Ekeler said during an appearance back in March on Chris Long’s podcast. “I want to get something long-term done. I want a team that wants me long-term. I’m at the peak of my game, right? As long as I’m healthy, I’m gonna score you another 20 touchdowns. I’m gonna have, you know, another 1,600 all-purpose yards. I’m getting half my value of what I could be getting. I am relentlessly pursuing someone who wants me for the long term.”

It's one thing for Ekeler to want a new team — maybe the Eagles could take advantage of the Chargers having little upper hand, sending some day 2 or 3 picks for the 27-year-old. But if he wants more money, it is hard to imagine it coming from Philadelphia.

The only realistic scenario that might make a little sense, is if Ekeler is cut and the Eagles are able to get him on some kind of prove-it deal, sort of like what we outlined when we discussed the Eagles' potential interest in another potentially released star running back in Dalvin Cook.

There are no doubt options for the Eagles if they want a superstar to round out their already stout offense. Ekeler and Cook could be available. Robinson should be sitting there at 10 and potentially beyond in the draft next week. And Ezekiel Elliott remains unsigned.

The simple fact that the team went low risk, high reward on Penny sort of shows where Roseman's head is at with the running back position.

The rumors will continue to swirl from NFL writers who simply see a weak depth chart at RB for the Birds, but the reality is, the team is probably going to go running back by committee and let another team overspend at that position. They'd rather spend on bolstering and maintaining the offensive and defensive lines that won them the NFC Championship last season.

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