Chargers re-sign S Alohi Gilman; Austin Ekeler signs with Commanders

The Sporting Tribune's Fernando Ramirez on why the Chargers passed on Austin Ekeler and brought back Alohi Gilman.

COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Chargers have decided to bring back safety Alohi Gilman, according to his agent Kenny Zuckerman. Former running back Austin Ekeler is headed to the Commanders, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Ekeler is headed to join new Commanders head coach Dan Quinn in new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.

The new Commanders running back signed a two-year deal after spending the last seven seasons with the Chargers.

He worked his way up the ladder as an undrafted free agent into the number-one spot. His strongest seasons were 2021 and 2022, when he scored 38 touchdowns and 3,195 total yards.

Last season, Ekeler dealt with an ankle injury that slowed him down, and the offense looked different under offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. He had over 1,000 total yards and six touchdowns.

Antonio Gibson has signed a deal with the New England Patriots, so Ekeler will slide in next to Brian Robinson Jr. 

It didn’t seem Ekeler would fit Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s vision for the offense and run game.

The running back gets a fresh start in DC while Gilman returns to the Chargers.

This is the first move where Harbaugh brings back one of the team’s many free agents.

Gilman had a career year in 2023 in tackles with 73, passes defended in 10, and forced fumbles with three.

He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 draft and has grown as a player, with his stats improving every year.

It will be interesting to see how new defensive coordinator Jesse Minter schemes Gilman and safety Derwin James in his defense. This defense still has many holes, but a familiar face returns.

All eyes are still on when the decisions on Keenan Allen, Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, and Mike Williams will happen.