One of the biggest stories in the league over the past week has been the situation involving Melvin Gordon and the Chargers. Somewhat out of nowhere, we heard that Gordon was threatening a holdout and a trade demand unless he received a new contract from Los Angeles. The 2015 first-round pick is set to play out the final year of his contract under the fifth-year option. Gordon struck a somewhat conciliatory tone recently, saying that he wants to end up back with the Chargers at the end of the day. Sometimes disputes like this can cause locker room issues and other chemistry problems, but Gordon isn’t worried about that here.
In a sit-down interview with Sam Alipour of ESPN, Gordon said of his Chargers teammates, “they’re all behind me. They all got my back.” Gordon continued, saying “they all told me, ‘You know what — we don’t really speak on contracts — but you just go and do what’s best for your family.’ And I’m glad I got that support from them.” Running backs across the league have bonded together as they’ve seen their value get questioned by many in recent years, and Gordon said that he’s heard from a ton of them. “A lot. A lot of starters. A lot, a lot of backs,” have reached out to him “just saying go out and get what you deserve,” he revealed. Gordon will be an interesting case-study, as the Chargers likely don’t want to pay him top of the market money. Backs like Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, and David Johnson have commanded in the area of $15MM annually, and Los Angeles seems hesitant to pay that much. As we’ve broken down, Gordon doesn’t have all that much leverage because he can’t sit out the season like Bell did without his contract tolling.
Here’s more from around the league:
- Speaking of teammates having each other’s backs in contract negotiations, the Duke Johnson situation has created some drama with the Browns this offseason. Baker Mayfield publicly criticized Johnson and his trade demand, which didn’t go over well with some Browns veterans. Several Browns players were reportedly unhappy with Mayfield talking about Johnson’s situation with the media. Johnson has said he doesn’t feel wanted in Cleveland, and he wants to be moved. Now Browns receiver Jarvis Landry is wading in, and he doesn’t think it will become too big of an issue. “It will not be a distraction,” Landry said recently, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “Our focus is pretty clear. We want to win a championship and the guys that are here, that’s going to help us do that. We start on Thursday. Let’s get it done,” he continued. For what it’s worth the Browns have insisted they plan on keeping Johnson, so him and Mayfield might be forced to patch things up.
- Training camps are already opening across the league, but there are still some relatively big names left on the market. They’ll likely be snatched up in the coming weeks, and Gil Brandt of NFL.com took a stab at projecting where they’ll land. Notably Brandt picks receiver Kelvin Benjamin to go to the Giants, cornerback Morris Claiborne to go back to the Jets, defensive tackle Corey Liuget to go back to the Chargers, and running back Jay Ajayi to go to the Colts. Recently we did our own breakdown on the best landing spots for Ajayi. Brandt connects a lot of dots, including the fact that current Giants GM Dave Gettleman drafted Benjamin in the first-round during his time in Carolina. Brandt also thinks Eric Berry will eventually land in Cleveland after all, and that Tre Boston will end up in San Francisco since the 49ers could use some safety help.
- In case you missed it, the Rams’ offensive line could be a concern in 2019.