After holding out of training camp and the entire preseason, Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is still a no-show. The holdout continues after not reporting to the team prior to their week one overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts 30-24. The Chargers have not received any indication that the former Wisconsin Badger will be returning anytime soon either.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, a source informed him that, “[Gordon} wants to be a Charger.” Gordon, over the summer, sought to receive an estimated $10 million per year contract extension from the Chargers. The Chargers made a counter-offer and has subsequently allowed their starting tailback to seek a trade with another team.
What makes this situation even more messy, others around the league have watched three premier running backs secure lucrative long-term contracts, two of which with the teams that drafted them. Last season the Los Angeles Rams locked on to Todd Gurley for four years worth a total of $57.5 million. This year the Jets signed former Pittsburgh Steeler Le’Veon Bell for $52.5 million, over four years, and most recently the Dallas Cowboys retained Ezekiel Elliot with a six-year $90 million extension.
It’s safe to not blame Gordon for wanting to cash in while the getting is good for the running back market. However, Gordon does have a history of injuries and the Chargers are also to having the workload spread by committee. In their week one win, the Chargers offense posted a total of 435 yards on offense, 125 of those yards being rushing over 21 carries. Again, getting the job done by committee with much more inexpensive talent, thus far is working in the favor of LA.
Another thing to consider is the Le’Veon Bell situation with Pittsburgh last season. Recall, Bell sat out the entire season after not signing the franchise tag with the Steelers, while the team moved on with rookie running back James Conner. At the present moment, the circumstances favor the Chargers. It’s also rumored per Fowler and Adam Schefter that Gordon can holdout until the mid-season point in November.
If Melvin Gordon were to return in time, he can still accrue a NFL season towards becoming an unrestricted free agent. It’s also worth noting that if Gordon were to be playing right now, he would be set to earn $5.605 million this season from Los Angeles. But at the moment, it appears as though the stalemate continues.