The Chargers let Austin Ekeler walk in free agency, replacing him with Gus Edwards. If anyone needed a crystal-clear message about how different the offense will be under Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman this year, there it is.

Chargers GM Joe Hortiz spelled out the new offensive philosophy last week. “He’s the bell-cow, the goal line (guy), the finisher,” he said. “The right mentality for what we’re looking to do here.”

In short, it's a team that's going to run a lot more and pass a lot less. Last year the Chargers ranked 9th in passing and 25th in rushing, and that disparity would likely have been even greater had Justin Herbert not missed the last month of the season.

Over the last five seasons, there have been 33 running backs to have at least 500 carries. Los Angeles has swapped out the back who had the most receptions among those players for the one who had the fewest (by far).

The below table, compiled using the search tools at, is sorted by receptions over the last five seasons.

RBS WITH 500-PLUS CARRIES, 2019-2023
Austin Ekeler73837354134374
Alvin Kamara701001421832343
Christian McCaffrey59961465243322
Leonard Fournette60743303920254
Aaron Jones73963476433237
Ezekiel Elliott801197485643221
Joe Mixon691156461837210
Saquon Barkley58940390424197
Josh Jacobs731305554546197
D'Andre Swift56593272923195
Dalvin Cook731142523843185
James Conner64878375939179
Tony Pollard79762362123176
Devin Singletary78888404920175
Antonio Gibson61642264322172
David Montgomery741134462439171
Miles Sanders73868414021151
Kareem Hunt64577228525147
Najee Harris51834326922144
Melvin Gordon57696291528130
Jamaal Williams71747293824126
Kenyan Drake56583250824124
Jonathan Taylor53925458240123
Derrick Henry721529720968116
Latavius Murray74661285425111
Nick Chubb611046551540103
Alexander Mattison75584237011100
James Robinson4051522641892
AJ Dillon6059724281686
Raheem Mostert5663332163186
Chuba Hubbard4950519801278
Sony Michel5257023121249
Gus Edwards5856226772428

Needless to say, with that non-usage in the passing game, Edwards doesn't have a lot of appeal in PPR leagues. A year ago he scored 13 touchdowns and still didn't even crack the top 25 among running backs. (He was 26th, even while ranking 3rd among running backs in rushing touchdowns, which seems hard to do.)

And it's fair to wonder whether he'll even wind up being that bell-cow running back. The Chargers' investment in him is small: A $1.1 million base salary and a $2.2 million signing bonus. He's going to have a role, but once the draft comes and goes (Harbaugh's Michigan running back Blake Corum?), will he still be the top back on the roster?

Those in TD-only and standard leagues may have some interest in Edwards this season. I won't be surprised if Ekeler is more productive in PPR leagues, even as part of a committee in Washington (with Brian Robinson perhaps getting more carries). Someone else in my leagues will be drafting Edwards.

--Andy Richardson