Former GM Points to Broncos as Ideal Landing Spot for NFL Touchdown Leader

Austin Ekeler

Getty Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler carries the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

While the Denver Broncos continue to improve their offense that ranked 32nd in scoring last season, a former NFL general manager thinks Denver should add Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler.

The NFL’s leading rusher over the past two seasons requested permission to speak with other teams about a potential trade after contract negotiations did not progress, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The very next day, Ekeler’s agent, Cameron Weiss, told Schefter that the Chargers have given Ekeler permission to seek a trade.

Former New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller told Heavy that he thinks Denver could be an ideal fit for the running back that played high school and college football in Colorado.

“I think some place like Denver where Sean Payton is going to put in and look for an Alvin Kamara, a guy like that to play on third-downs, to do some things in the passing game.”

Mueller also explained that Ekeler would fit right into Denver’s offensive scheme.

“If he gets in the right scheme and the right situation, I could see him not only getting a new contract, but continuing to lead the league in touchdowns every year.”

Ekeler Has a Connection With the Broncos

When Payton was putting his coaching staff together, he went out an hired Joe Lombardi to be his offensive coordinator.

Lombardi spent 12 seasons with Payton in New Orleans before becoming the offensive coordinator for Ekeler’s Chargers in 2021.

In those two seasons, Ekeler’s numbers jumped from nine rushing touchdowns in his first four seasons to 12 in 2021 and 13 in 2022.

Ekeler nearly double his rushing yards from 2020 to 2021 and has had career highs in rushing yards per game over the past two seasons.

Over the last two seasons, Ekeler has excelled in the passing game by catching 13 passing touchdowns which is the most by running backs.

Per ESPN, Ekeler and Hall of Famer Lenny Moore are the only players in NFL history to record 25 rushing touchdowns and 25 receiving touchdowns in their first six seasons of the NFL.

Payton Has Had Success With Receiving RBs

During Payton’s 15 years of calling plays in New Orleans, he was always creative with his running backs.

Payton looked for running backs that could catch passes out of the backfield with speed and could line up as a wide receiver.

In his 15 years running the offense for the Saints, Payton’s running backs averaged 64.7 receptions per year along with 515.3 yards receiving on the season.

There were eight seasons in New Orleans in which a Saints running back caught more than 70 passes in a single season and six years where a running back went for more than 80 receptions under Payton.

Last season, Latavius Murray led the Broncos running backs in receptions with just 26 and went for 124 yards receiving.

When talking to ESPN’s morning radio show, “Keyshawn, JayWill, and Max,” Broncos head coach Sean Payton broke down the formula to fixing Wilson in the upcoming season.

“Two allies for quarterback play, a good defense, and a good running game. It takes the pressure off.”

Payton continued explaining that on offense you must keep the defense off balance.

“If we looked at their Seattle formula, they played good defense. The running game wasn’t always as good year to year, but they were committed to the running game with him and then you got all of the movement throws, you got all of the things he did.”

Last season, Denver finished 21st in rushing yards per game with 113.8.

With Williams out, this forced the Broncos to lean on Murray, Melvin GordonMarlon Mack, and Edmonds for the remainder of the season.

It’s clear that Denver needs to find an elusive running back that Payton can pair with his leading power back in Javonte Williams when healthy.