5 Washington Commanders players looking for redemption in 2024

These Commanders players have points to prove next season.
Jeremy Chinn
Jeremy Chinn / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Austin Ekeler - Commanders RB

I’m beginning with Austin Ekeler because he’s a bit of an outlier on this list.

The other players are younger veterans. If they manage a bounce-back season in 2024, they are likely to become Washington Commanders fixtures for years to come. That is not true of Ekeler.

At 29 years old, Ekeler is already ancient by running back standards. A strong year from the former undrafted free agent could be an enormous help in 2024 - and perhaps even 2025. But that’s probably as far as it goes.

Still, Ekeler could be exactly what the Commanders' offense needs this year. In his first six seasons, between 2017 and 2022, he boasted an exceptional Pro Football Focus overall rating of 79.6. His worst grade from the company came during his rookie year when he graded out at 74.6. Then in 2023, he plummeted to 60.2.

His yards-per-carry dropped more than a full yard below his previous six-season average. Ekeler found the end zone 38 times in 2021 and 2022, and just six times in 2023. Most Los Angeles Chargers fans considered him washed up last year. Judging by the tepid trade and free-agent markets, that opinion seems to be shared by much of the league.

Ekeler does not have to be the same player he was during his best days with the Chargers within the Commanders' offense. Young runners Brian Robinson Jr. and Chris Rodriguez Jr. can do much of the heavy lifting. The new addition just has to make some big plays.

He needs to be a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Ekeler needs to find the end zone again. Many consider him too old, but Derrick Henry and Raheem Mostert, two Pro Bowl running backs in 2023, are older.

A reduced workload and a reunion with former coach Anthony Lynn may lead to redemption in 2024.