Austin Ekeler reveals tipping point behind Commanders switch

Austin Ekeler
Austin Ekeler / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Ekeler revealed the tipping point behind his decision to sign for the Washington Commanders during 2024 free agency.

Among the more high-profile signings made by the Washington Commanders during a frantic start to free agency was Austin Ekeler. The veteran running back penned a two-year, $8.43 million deal with the franchise that includes a $3 million signing bonus and $4.21 million guaranteed. With Antonio Gibson departing for the New England Patriots, this was a solid piece of business by new general manager Adam Peters as part of his substantial roster overhaul.

Ekeler has a lot of tread on his tires, so the concerns are obvious. That said, the Commanders also have Brian Robinson Jr. and Chris Rodriguez Jr. in their running back room. This gives offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury a three-headed backfield monster to help Washington's rookie quarterback, which seems to be a straight choice between Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye after the Chicago Bears traded Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Austin Ekeler reveals reasons behind Commanders move

The former undrafted free agent out of Western State Colorado spoke to the media after officially putting pen to paper on his contract. Ekeler revealed Anthony Lynn as a big tipping point behind his decision to join the Commanders. He also holds high hopes regarding immediate progression under head coach Dan Quinn in 2024 based on comments via Nicki Jhabvala from the Washington Post.

"Just the philosophies of Coach Lynn as well as far as a running backs coach, this man is an absolute guru. So just being back in a room with him I know will definitely keep me focused, keep me locked in and give me the best opportunity to push myself as a player. I’ve seen it done before with actually coach [Anthony] Lynn as my head coach. … We saw it last year too with the Texans, how they went through their [down] season and had a bounce-back season. … It doesn’t have to take long. I think we can get something going this year."

Austin Ekeler via X

Lynn knows Ekeler well from their time together on the Los Angeles Chargers. He'll know how best to utilize his skill set, which will be invaluable for Kingsbury as he looks to implement a strategy capable of providing more explosiveness on offense. Not having lead-back responsibilities should also help the player considerably.

When discussing what he could bring to the Commanders, Ekeler believes his nose for the end zone and leadership qualities will be assets to call upon. Getting him the football in space will also reap rewards based on his thoughts via Pro Football Talk.

"They have B-Rob, and if we can bring another back to add to that tandem and bring some leadership to the team, that’s why I thought it was a good fit. I’ll score some touchdowns for you, that’s for sure, if you get me in the red zone and find a way to get me the ball in some space."

Austin Ekeler via Pro Football Talk

There is a huge amount of intrigue attached to Ekeler's arrival. Asking him to accumulate 25-30 touches per game is asking for trouble. Fortunately for the Commanders, they can pick and choose his deployment thanks to Robinson's ascension last season.

Fans should relax safe in the knowledge there is a genuine plan in place for the first time in years. Ekeler is just a small piece of the puzzle, but if the player can stay clear of injury, it's hard to envisage a scenario where he doesn't become the Commanders quarterback's best friend in no time at all.

Ekeler wanted to be here. That, above all else, is the most positive element of all.