austin ekeler criticized the Los Angeles Chargers for lopsided negotiations between his agent and the teams with which they were in talks to trade the star running back this offseason.
Ekeler’s comments are part of this week’s big conversation about the value of running backs in the NFL. Only three players are subject to playing under the franchise tag this season: saquon barkleyTony Pollard and Josh Jacobs.
Elite runners zoom in on each other in a “text stringabout how they could handle the problem. The NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement is in effect through 2030. Players have been venting their frustrations to the media and on social media.
NFL News: Austin Ekeler calls the Los Angeles Chargers
Ekeler, who asked for a trade from the Chargers this spring because he believes his contract is unfair, recently opened up about the team’s hypocrisy. Ekeler was a guest at The Zach Gelb Show and said the Chargers wanted a high price for a trade, but weren’t willing to pay Ekeler full trade value:
“No, and that’s because I came with a lot of baggage,” Ekeler said. “You were going to have to trade some high picks for me. The Chargers weren’t going to let me go for anything that wasn’t up there, so they saw my value there.
It’s funny how when they let me trade, they say, ‘Okay, but we want you to get these kinds of picks,’ which weren’t low picks, ‘but we’re not going to pay you like you’re that kind of player. So, it’s kind of interesting when it’s like, ‘Oh, if you’re going to be traded, you’ve got to trade it at this level, but if we’re going to keep you, we’re going to keep you down here. at this level.’
“You can see that it makes sense to them because they’re getting the best of both worlds there. They have the clout, and so it was hard for me to get something out or get a new contract where you’re going to have to give up high picks and also restructure my contract. That’s being transparent in my situation.”
Look, it’s clear that the runners have worth in the NFL. There’s a reason teams are using their limited availability of franchise tags to artificially undercut the price of elite racers. Ekeler’s view on trade negotiations is another example of front offices understanding the value of their players.
But NFL owners have successfully lobbied to prevent the free market from doing its job behind the scenes.
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