4 Commanders players who could potentially regress in 2024

The Commanders cannot afford these players to regress in 2024.
Tress Way
Tress Way / Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
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Austin Ekeler - Commanders RB

Austin Ekeler received some harsh criticism for his offseason approach. Former professional Tiki Barber blasted the running back for refusing to accept a bell-cow role with the Los Angeles Chargers before his eventual departure. This was extremely short-sighted when one considers the current predicament facing backfield presences around the league.

A running back's shelf-life is getting increasingly uncertain. Some are cast aside quickly once they reach 30 years old. Lucrative second contracts are rare unless they end up being truly elite. It's a scary landscape, especially considering the influx of explosive, cheaper individuals from the college ranks emerging each spring to further complicate matters.

Ekeler wanted to preserve his longevity. Taking 300 carries for the Chargers without the necessary financial reward was never a legitimate possibility. He wanted to find somewhere with an established young player in place. Something that takes the pressure off and allows him to maximize touches when they arrive.

The former undrafted free agent believes he's found the perfect landing spot. Ekeler joined the Washington Commanders on a cost-effective two-year deal. This looks like an immediate upgrade on Antonio Gibson, who departed for the New England Patriots in free agency after not getting a new contract from general manager Adam Peters.

Brian Robinson Jr.'s three-down capabilities mean Ekeler can focus on being an asset in the passing game and when red-zone situations come around. He'll be an outstanding asset for rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels to lean on during his important transition. Hopes are high that he can thrive in this role, but falling off the proverbial cliff cannot be ruled out either.

Running backs tend to regress quicker than most position groups. The level of punishment they take is extraordinary and the violent collisions at speed happen frequently. Ekeler's got a lot of tread on the tires, but he's working hard to ensure this increasing trend doesn't befall him next season.

Make no mistake, the Commanders will be hoping for the same.