Melvin Gordon

This Date In Transactions History: Chargers’ Melvin Gordon Ends Holdout

More often than not, NFL stars tend to wrap their holdouts in late August. That’s just enough time to drum up leverage, potentially land a new contract, and suit up for the season opener in September. That wasn’t the case for Melvin Gordon in 2019. Two years ago today, Gordon ended his holdout after missing the entire offseason program and multiple weeks of action.

The running back was set to enter his fifth-year option season and wanted a lucrative new deal to put among the highest-paid players at his position. In the four years prior, Gordon averaged 907 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground plus 46 catches, 395 yards, and three scores through the air. The Wisconsin product was named to the Pro Bowl in both 2016 and 2018, so he clearly had a case.

Gordon’s holdout was viewed as unlikely to stretch the entire season. Per league rules, Gordon had to report before Week 10 in order to qualify for free agency the following year. Still, Le’Veon Bell‘s 2018 saga with the Steelers had everyone on edge. For weeks, the word was that Gordon would probably cut it close by showing up at the halfway point of the year.

The star running back didn’t go quite that far. He didn’t dress for Week 4, but the Chargers put him back in the lineup for Week 5. Unfortunately, the Chargers still went 3-9 with Gordon on the field and finished the year 5-11. Gordon’s stats suffered too. He averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, one of the worst showings of his career.

On the plus side, he stayed healthy throughout the three-quarters of a season, putting him in line for a decent payday with the Broncos. Gordon’s two-year, $16MM deal didn’t quite meet his expectations, but he still got $13.5MM guaranteed. Now, Gordon’s in his walk year once again. This time around, he’s on pace for a better platform year. Gordon averaged 5.5 yards per carry in the Broncos’ first two contests and notched his 47th career TD earlier today against the Jets.

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Melvin Gordon Discusses Broncos’ RB Depth, Role

The Broncos have done some work revamping their running back depth chart this offseason. That means former Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon will find himself competing for carries (and, potentially, a roster spot). However, the veteran isn’t all that worried about his projected role.

“I’m very confident, man,” Gordon said (via ESPN’s Jeff Legwold). “I’m just going to go out there and just do my job and compete. Wherever the cards fall, they fall. I can’t really worry about that too much. I know that’s kind of the talk. The media is making it Javonte versus Melvin. Who’s going to start? This and that. It’s not really about that.”

Gordon is referring to rookie Javonte Williams, who the Broncos traded up to select in the second round (No. 35). The organization also brought in free agent Mike Boone, who previously played for new Broncos general manager George Paton during their time in Minnesota, and they’re still rostering former starter Royce Freeman. As a result, Gordon will have to battle for every carry once the regular season rolls around.

It’s not a surprise that the Broncos have been focused on adding depth at the position. Gordon may have led the Broncos with 986 rushing yards in 2020, but he had four lost fumbles and was forced to miss a game after getting arrested for DUI. Plus, Paton doesn’t have any attachment to the 2020 free agent signing, and Gordon didn’t do much to endear himself when he skipped OTAs.

While Gordon will likely see a reduction in carries, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be jettisoned off the roster. While the Broncos would save around $2.5MM by cutting the 28-year-old, they’d be left with $6.5MM in dead cap. Unless the organization desperately needs the cap space, it could make more sense to just keep Gordon as some high-level depth. Perhaps most importantly, it sounds like Gordon is embracing the team’s running backs corps, indicating that himself, Williams, and Boone could form a three-headed monster.

“We’re competing, but it’s early, and we still have a lot of work to do,” Gordon said. “I think both of them have really good feet and good hands. I think they’re going to be — we could all be special. We’re definitely going to come out here and compete. … You can tell Boone been in the league for a while, and you can tell that Javonte has potential. We’re going to grow as a group, and we’re looking to be the best running back group in the league.”

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Charges Dismissed For Broncos’ Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon‘s DUI charges have been dismissed (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News). Gordon entered a guilty plea for reckless driving/ excessive speeding, which will put eight points on his license. However, he will not face the more serious charges stemming from his October arrest. 

[RELATED: Von Miller Will Not Face Charges]

A guilty verdict could have put his Broncos future in jeopardy, canceling his $4.5MM guarantee for 2021. His guilty plea won’t impact his guaranteed cash, though it may trigger a fine or suspension from the league office. But, ultimately, it won’t allow the Broncos to escape their commitment to Gordon.

Gordon ran for 966 yards in his first Broncos season, good for tenth in the league. He also inched back towards his ~2018 efficiency and scoring rate, averaging 4.6 yard per tote and notching nine touchdowns. Even if the Broncos had the opportunity to release Gordon without cap consequences, it’s not a given that they would have done so. But, a change to his contract could have given them leverage to renegotiate.

 

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DUI Hearing Delayed For Broncos’ Melvin Gordon

Broncos running back Melvin Gordon was originally set to have his disposition hearing today. Now, the hearing has been pushed back to March 10, as Mike Klis of 9News writes.

According to the October police report, Gordon was speeding 25-39 mph over the limit and found to be intoxicated when he was pulled over. He chose to take a field sobriety test over a breathalyzer test — cops say that didn’t go to well.

Some new information has come up that is the subject of discussion between the parties,” Gordon’s lawyer Robert Malen said in a virtual hearing.

The final outcome of the matter could impact Gordon’s early-season availability and his future with the Broncos. A guilty verdict or plea would likely trigger a three-game ban from the league office. It would also nix his $4.5MM guarantee for 2021. That means that the Broncos could easily shed Gordon’s contract, if that’s what they want to do.

Gordon, presently set to enter his second year with the Broncos, ran for 966 yards, good for tenth in the league. He also inched back towards his ~2018 efficiency and scoring rate, averaging 4.6 yard per tote and notching nine touchdowns.

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AFC Notes: Watt, Green, Chiefs, Gordon, Pats

Vocal about his frustration with the Texans‘ situation, J.J. Watt is on track to play in 16 games for just second time in the past five seasons. Although a midseason report tabbed the future Hall of Fame defensive lineman as a “virtual lock” to be traded in the offseason, Watt has one season remaining on his Texans deal. He acknowledged his contract — a six-year, $100MM 2014 pact that has since been lapped by a few younger D-linemen — will need to be addressed in 2021.

There’s a whole lot of unknowns in that situation. We’ll see what happens,” Watt said, via Fox 26’s Mark Berman (video link). “I don’t have any guarantees left in my contact, so something’s got to happen one way or another. I’m not sure. There’s too many unknowns.”

Thanks to the Laremy Tunsil deal, the Texans do not have first- or second-round picks in next year’s draft. Despite Watt’s contributions, Houston’s defense ranks near the bottom of the NFL. And the team does not have many long-term cornerstones on offense beyond Tunsil or Deshaun Watson. Watt, 31, would be an interesting 2021 trade chip — should the Texans attempt to collect assets for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year — but the prospect of a new Watt contract in a year when the cap is set to decline would seemingly affect his market.

Here is the latest from the AFC heading into Week 17:

  • Another superstar from the 2011 draft class, A.J. Green may be set for his final Bengals game Sunday. The former perennial Pro Bowler has seen his role in Cincinnati’s offense reduced, despite playing on the franchise tag, and acknowledged Sunday might be it for him in western Ohio. “If this is my last game, I had an unbelievable 10 years here,” Green said (via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby, on Twitter) Thursday. The Bengals did not let Green test free agency this year, which understandably led to frustration from the veteran, and 2021 figures to be a crowded marketplace for wideouts. Green, 32, stayed healthy this year but has just 47 receptions for 523 yards — a distant third among Bengals.
  • The Broncos will have a decision to make at running back soon. They have Phillip Lindsay looming as an RFA, and Melvin Gordon‘s DUI arrest has him facing a three-game suspension — one that would stand to void the remaining guarantees on his two-year, $16MM deal. “Hopefully I did enough for them to want to keep me here,” Gordon said, via 9News’ Mike Klis. Gordon has rushed for 893 yards in 14 games but has a career-low 141 receiving yards.
  • A back injury ended Mitchell Schwartz‘s iron-man streak at 134 games; the Chiefs‘ All-Pro right tackle has been out since Week 6. Andy Reid said the veteran right tackle is making progress but was vague on a return timeline, per the Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope (on Twitter). Another report, via the Star’s Sam Mellinger (on Twitter), indicated Schwartz is not expected to return this season. Schwartz, 31, has long been one of the NFL’s top right tackles. His absence would obviously make a Chiefs repeat championship more difficult.
  • Brandon Bolden was one of the eight Patriots to opt out because of COVID-19 concerns, but the longtime backup running back/special-teamer plans to play in 2021. The 30-year-old back tweeted he wants to return next season, though it is not certain if the Patriots will bring him back. Thanks to Bolden’s 2020 money tolling, he is under contract next year on a $1.3MM base salary.

Broncos RB Melvin Gordon Out Sunday

Melvin Gordon won’t be on the field when the Broncos take on the Patriots tomorrow. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the running back did not travel to New England due to an illness.

[RELATED: Broncos/Patriots still on track for Sunday]

The reporter later clarified that Gordon had been diagnosed with strep throat. Considering the bacterial infection can be contagious, the Broncos decided to be cautious and leave Gordon in Denver. Earlier this morning, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reported (via Twitter) that the running back had come down with a non-COVID-19 illness, noting that the training staff had taken extra precautions to guarantee he wasn’t dealing with COVID-19.

It hasn’t been the best week for Gordon. On Tuesday night, the 27-year-old was cited for driving under the influence. The police report stated that Gordon was found to be intoxicated after he was pulled over for speeding. The DUI citation could subject him to league discipline, including a possible suspension.

After three relatively underwhelming performances to begin his Broncos tenure, Gordon had a big game earlier this month against the Jets, rushing for 107 yards and two scores on 23 carries. Following a five-year stint with the Chargers that saw him earn a pair of Pro Bowl nods, Gordon inked a two-year, $16MM deal with Denver this past offseason.

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Broncos’ Melvin Gordon Charged With DUI

Broncos running back Melvin Gordon was cited for driving under the influence on Tuesday night, as Mike Klis of 9News reports. According to police, Gordon was speeding between 25 mph and 39 mph over the limit and found to be intoxicated when he was pulled over.

We are aware of the situation involving Melvin Gordon,” the Broncos said in a statement. “Our organization has been in communication with him and is in the process of gathering more details.”

Gordon joined the Broncos in March on a two-year, $16MM deal. With the Chargers, he totaled at least 1,375 yards from scrimmage from 2016-18 and 47 touchdowns over the past four years. While he has missed time due to minor injuries throughout his career, Gordon was healthy throughout 2019. Of course, he still missed games, due to his holdout that stretched into October of last year.

In 12 games, Gordon averaged 3.8 yards per carry, a far cry from the 5.1 yards per tote that gave him so much leverage in 2018. This past week, the Broncos got a glimpse of Gordon’s full potential as he ran for 107 yards against the Jets, including a 43-yard TD to clinch the win.

Gordon’s DUI citation could subject him to league discipline, including a possible suspension.

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West Rumors: Raiders, Henderson, Broncos

Tyrell Williams dealt with injuries to both of his feet last season, missing time because of it. The maladies took a while to recover from this offseason, but the veteran Raiders wideout believes he has nearly surmounted the nagging problems.

Shoot, it’s been a long offseason with my feet,” Williams said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “I did two months after the season of just rehab and resting them. It was still taking a long time and I started getting pretty discouraged, but … um, about two months ago, I finally got over the hump and my feet have been feeling good. I still feel it a little bit, but compared to what I had … it’s nothing compared to what I was going through during the season.”

Williams missed two games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot but said his left foot became a discomfort source after he returned. The second-year Raider then dealt with pain in both feet the rest of the way. Williams still averaged 15.5 yards per catch, but the Raiders drafted two wideouts and a gadget player (Lynn Bowden Jr.) in the first three rounds. The Raiders guaranteed Williams’ $11MM base salary earlier this year, but the ex-Charger has no guaranteed money on his deal beyond 2020.

Here is more injury news from the Raiders’ receiving corps and the latest from the rest of the Wests:

  • Las Vegas first-round pick Henry Ruggs suffered an injury helping a friend move last month but is expected to be ready for camp. While the Raiders’ newest speed merchant received stitches, he sustained no muscular damage, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Around six weeks remain until rookies report for camps.
  • The Rams are beginning a new era at running back, having cut five-year starter Todd Gurley. Darrell Henderson will be one of the players vying for the starting job. The second-year back, however, underwent ankle surgery this offseason, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. This issue may be behind him, with Rodrigue adding that Henderson has already participated in multiple Jared Goff-conducted throwing sessions (Twitter link). Henderson, Malcolm Brown and rookie second-rounder Cam Akers represent the top options in Los Angeles’ backfield.
  • The Broncos‘ backfield has two primary options, but it’s perhaps just as muddled. Given a two-year, $16MM contract, Melvin Gordon is in line to take Phillip Lindsay‘s starting job despite the latter’s back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. New Denver OC Pat Shurmur was said to have pushed for a “bellcow” back like Gordon, but Denver’s new OC denied he did so on Thursday. “I think that (rumor) is a false narrative. I’m all for adding good players at every position. I feel like Phillip Lindsay is an outstanding player who we can hand the ball to, or throw the ball to. The fact that we have two running backs now who can be very explosive with the ball in their hands, whether they throw it or run it, is a good thing,” Shurmur said, via Denver7’s Troy Renck. “You need more than one running back. … The whole ‘pounding the table’ narrative — listen, I’m the new guy here.”
  • While Lindsay showed promise as a pass catcher at Colorado, Gordon has been more productive as a pro in that area. Gordon’s $8MM-AAV deal and Lindsay’s $750K 2020 base salary would point to the former being ticketed for a change-of-pace role. Shurmur, however, said he envisions formations that will feature both Gordon and Lindsay, Renck tweets.

Latest On Broncos’ RB Plans

Before the Broncos decided on a Melvin GordonPhillip Lindsay backfield, they had another veteran standout on their radar. Denver was interested in trading for David Johnson, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports (subscription required).

The Broncos expressed interest in the former Cardinals All-Pro at the Combine but did not wish to meet Arizona’s asking price, Jhabvala adds. Johnson is now a member of the Texans, set to collect his full $10.2MM base salary despite Duke Johnson also on tap to earn $3.6MM in 2020. While the latter’s salary is non-guaranteed, Houston’s backfield has become quite expensive. After two years of using rookie-contract running backs, Denver’s has as well.

John Elway and Vic Fangio came to an agreement on needing a better 1-2 punch in the team’s backfield compared to what it possessed in its Lindsay-Royce Freeman setup of the past two years, Fangio said. New OC hire Pat Shurmur sought a “bellcow” back, per Jhabvala. Given that David Johnson was on the radar, the Broncos were undeterred by a large salary in their backfield.

This has created a situation in which Gordon is on track to displace Lindsay as the Broncos’ top running back. Gordon is also attached to a two-year, $16MM contract. Lindsay will make $750K in 2020. Despite becoming the first UDFA to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Lindsay denied he will seek a trade or prioritize a new deal. Elway confirmed Tuesday a new Lindsay agreement is not out of the question, but the 10th-year GM appeared to be more optimistic on this front at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

I’ve talked to Phillip’s agent and we’ll see what happens and what we can do later on,” Elway said. “That’s not a guarantee either way, but we’ll see what we can do later on.”

Lindsay’s agent, Mike McCartney, said (via Jhabvala) he hopes the Broncos will “do right by” his client after he “exceeded expectations.” No Lindsay extension discussions have occurred, however, Jhabvala adds. Lindsay cannot become an unrestricted free agent until 2022; he will be an RFA next March.

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Latest On Broncos’ Melvin Gordon Signing

Having seen Phillip Lindsay become the first undrafted player in NFL history to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, the Broncos have created interesting optics by signing Melvin Gordon. In an offseason that began with rumors of a possible Lindsay extension, the Broncos gave Gordon an $8MM-per-year deal that ranks sixth among running backs.

I know there’s people going, ‘Why do you need another horse?’ Well, when you have an opportunity for Melvin Gordon to come in here, we felt like it was an addition to the team,” Broncos GM John Elway said. “He’s a guy that obviously has had a lot of success in this league. He’s scored a lot of touchdowns and has caught the football a ton. So we feel like with him — with Melvin, as well as Phillip — that we’ve got a great one-two punch, and we’ll only get better in the backfield.

Ultimately, we have to score more points this year. We’ve struggled on the offensive side the last two, three years, and so we’ve got to get better on that side. I think Melvin will be one of those key pieces to help us get better.”

Lindsay, whose two 1,000-yard seasons are more than Gordon’s one, reached out to his new teammate but may now have an uncertain future in Denver. No team currently has multiple backs earning more than $3.5MM AAV. Lindsay is set to make just $750K in 2020 — less than Royce Freeman, whom Gordon is essentially replacing in Denver.

This arrangement would seemingly be untenable for Lindsay, but the Broncos are not prioritizing a re-up for their hometown success story at this time. Lindsay, 25, is set for restricted free agency in 2021.

Gordon’s abilities as a receiver helped influence the Broncos’ decision, with Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic noting that new OC Pat Shurmur sought a more complete back (subscription required). Lindsay caught 53 passes as a junior at Colorado but has yet to top 35 catches or 250 receiving yards as a pro. Gordon peaked at 19 grabs in a season at run-heavy Wisconsin but has caught more than 40 passes in each of his past four seasons. Gordon surpassed 400 receiving yards each season from 2016-18.

Last year, Gordon turned down a Chargers extension worth around $10MM per year. He held out into late September before reporting, and Austin Ekeler ended up outplaying him and landing a Bolts extension. Gordon said if given the choice again he would not hold out.

I probably would come back just because — more so because of my legacy and what I’m trying to do as a player, my mark that I’m trying to leave,” the former first-round pick said, via Jhabvala. “Obviously, those are games that I can’t get back. Starting out slow and being able to catch stride towards the end of the season, but then it’s too late.

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