With the Broncos having made Melvin Gordon the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid running back, Phillip Lindsay looks set to make the unusual transition from back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher to complementary back.
John Elway discussed the prospect of a Lindsay extension at the end of last season but said before the Gordon signing that such a deal was a back-burner issue. Now that Gordon is making $8MM per year through 2021, Lindsay stands in a strange position. But the Broncos have not ruled out a Lindsay re-up, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes (on Twitter). The Broncos hold more than $29MM in cap space.
Lindsay is set to make just $750K in 2020, the third year of his UDFA contract. He will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2021. With only one team (the Texans) presently paying more than one running back at a rate north of $3.5MM per year, this situation will be one to monitor. While the soon-to-be 27-year-old Gordon has proven to be the superior receiver, the ex-Chargers first-rounder is 1-for-5 in 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
“I feel like I’ve outplayed my contract, and I deserve to take care of my family, too,’’ Lindsay told 9News’ Mike Klis. “But I’m under contract still. For me, my mindset is to play out my contract. The fact is, nothing has to be done. You can’t make anybody do something they don’t want to do. And so for me, I put pen to paper; I’ll be here.
“I love the game of football, and I love being out here. I never look at money. Money is going to come when it comes. But I was a top-five running back (in 2018) and top 15 this year so I feel like I am outplaying my contract, but at the end of the day, I’ll continue to play with the contract they gave me.”
Lindsay, 25, is the first UDFA in NFL history to start his career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Although the 2018 draft class is not yet eligible for extensions, Lindsay is because of his undrafted status. Considering the narrow windows running backs have to cash in, it will be important for the Colorado alum to do so in the near future. He will enter the 2020 season as the Broncos’ third-highest-paid running back — behind Gordon and Royce Freeman.
John Elway spoke to Lindsay’s agent after the Gordon signing, Klis adds, noting the GM indicated his desire for the Broncos to carry two quality running backs. Freeman has underwhelmed since coming to Denver as a third-round pick. Lindsay also confirmed he has no desire to be traded.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.