Melvin Gordon

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/28/22

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Cleveland Browns

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Chiefs To Sign RB Melvin Gordon To Practice Squad

Melvin Gordon has found his next NFL home, and it will allow him to remain in the AFC West. The veteran running back is joining the Chiefs on their practice squad, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). Gordon himself has confirmed the move.

Gordon was waived last week, ending his tenure in Denver on a low note. The 29-year-old’s production had fallen off notably compared to his first two campaigns in the Mile High City, and five lost fumbles made for a significant talking point. As the Broncos’ offense continued to search for answers in the backfield, the two sides parted ways, allowing him to catch on elsewhere to finish the season.

Gordon indicated not long after he went unclaimed that there were multiple teams, including playoff contenders, which were showing interest in him. The AFC-leading Chiefs would certainly qualify as such, with a 9-2 record and the league’s top scoring and total offense. Much of their production has come through the air, however, with the team’s ground game ranking only 19th in the league with an average of 115 yards per game.

Kansas City is also thin in the backfield at the moment with Clyde Edwards-Helaire being placed on IR due to a high ankle sprain. That has cleared the way for the team’s leading rusher, rookie Isiah Pacheco, to continue operating as the lead back. Gordon could provide veteran insurance behind him if, as expected, he finds himself on the active roster soon.

Denver and Kansas City have yet to play each other this season, so Gordon could have two opportunities (in Weeks 14 and 17) to suit up against his former team in much the same way he did as a Bronco against his original employer, the Chargers. How much of a role he has on his third AFC West club could be worth watching as the Chiefs look to go on another deep postseason run.

Melvin Gordon Drawing Free Agent Interest

Melvin Gordon has been unemployed since Tuesday, when his Broncos tenure came to an end and he passed through waivers unclaimed. The veteran running back believes that situation will change soon, however.

In an interview with Mike Klis of 9News, Gordon addressed his Denver departure, which came about after his underwhelming season continued on Sunday. The Broncos’ overtime loss to the Raiders saw the 29-year-old post 31 rushing yards on eight carries, extending his streak of games averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry to eight. Most notably, though, was the fact that Gordon fumbled for the fifth time this season – an issue which remained present throughout recent seasons.

“No, that wasn’t even mentioned,” Gordon said, though, when asked if his ball security struggles played a role in the team’s decision to move on from him. “It was crazy when I’d seen that. Because [general manager] George [Paton], when he talked to me, he didn’t mention anything about that. He knew what type of environment it was for me. He knew how I felt toward my situation there and he told me about the fan base and how it’s been tough for me and said he didn’t want to put me through this anymore and with our situation it was probably best.”

The former first-rounder added that “several teams have expressed interest” in adding him as a free agent for the stretch run. Playoff-bound clubs are among those, including some who would be willing to add him to their practice squads for a short period before elevating him to the active roster. While such a scenario seemed highly unlikely entering the campaign after he re-upped with Denver this offseason, it would allow him to rebuild some value heading into 2023.

Gordon has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry in 2022, matching his rookie season for the lowest such mark of his career. The Broncos’ injury-riddled offense has played a role in that lack of success, but his 2,275 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns scored between 2020 and 2021 in Denver could appeal to contending teams looking for backfield depth.

Reflecting on his time as a Bronco, the Wisconsin alum said that “there were times I felt like I was a scapegoat,” but added that he has “no hard feelings” towards the organization or its fans. If his stated level of interest is true, he should start his next football chapter in the near future.

Broncos Waive RB Melvin Gordon

NOVEMBER 22: No team claimed Gordon, who has passed through to free agency, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This will be Gordon’s third time in free agency. In both other instances — 2020 and ’22 — the Broncos signed him. Gordon will be searching for a third NFL employer. Just more than $836K remained on Gordon’s Broncos contract, a one-year, $2.5MM accord.

NOVEMBER 21: In the wake of another underwhelming performance, Melvin Gordon‘s time with the Broncos is coming to an end. Denver is waiving the veteran running back, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). The team has confirmed the move.

Gordon, 29, fumbled for the fifth time this season during yesterday’s overtime loss to the Raiders. The ongoing issues with ball security is believed to be at the heart of this move, as noted by Rapoport’s colleague James Palmer (on Twitter). A fresh start for both parties is now at hand, which could prove beneficial.

The former Charger enjoyed productive campaigns during his first two seasons in Denver, eclipsing 1,100 scrimmage yards and scoring 10 total touchdowns each year. Despite the presence of 2021 second-rounder Javonte Williams, he re-signed this past offseason on a modest one-year deal. Williams’ ACL tear opened the door to Gordon once again operating as a lead back, but he received double-digit carries just twice since he went down. Gordon scored one touchdown during that stretch, never averaging more than 3.9 yards per carry in a game.

That made him a trade candidate in the build-up to the deadline at the start of the month, but no deal materialized. The only move Denver made at the position was acquiring Chase Edmonds from the Dolphins as part of the Bradley Chubb deal. That, in turn, came after the Broncos added veteran journeyman Latavius Murray from the Saints’ practice squad.

The latter has logged at least 25 snaps in each of his games with the Broncos so far, a sign that Gordon’s hold on the No. 1 role was in danger. General manager George Paton indicated otherwise in the wake of the Edmonds trade, but another fumble yesterday proved to be the final straw. The backfield pecking order could now be slightly clearer in the wake of Gordon’s departure, though Mike Boone is a candidate to be activated from IR later on in the year.

Attention will now turn to whether or not Gordon is claimed by a team looking for experienced depth for a postseason run. Denver’s plans at the position – especially in the wake of the team having a new offensive play-caller – will also be worth watching as the 3-7 outfit looks to find success on that side of the ball.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Toney, Chargers

To help create cap space as they acquired Bradley Chubb‘s fifth-year option salary (initially), the Dolphins included Chase Edmonds‘ two-year, $12MM deal in their Tuesday trade with the Broncos. Edmonds joins a Denver backfield already housing veterans in Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray. Gordon’s up-and-down Broncos tenure has now included a demotion, effectively, with Murray playing a big role since being signed off the Saints’ practice squad. Fumbles have continued to plague Gordon in 2022, leading to the reduced workload despite a starting role. Broncos GM George Paton said the Edmonds trade would not affect Gordon’s starter status, calling the former Cardinals change-of-pace back “another piece to the puzzle.” It will be interesting to see how the Broncos proceed once Mike Boone is ready to return from IR. The team has five injury activations remaining this season.

Midway through his eighth season, Gordon (75 carries, 263 yards, four fumbles) is on pace for career lows in totes and rushing yards. Edmonds is on Denver’s 2022 cap sheet at just more than $1.1MM; that number spikes to a nonguaranteed $5.7MM in 2023. Gordon and Murray are both on expiring contracts. Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The other player coming to the AFC West via pre-deadline trade, Kadarius Toney is expected to make his debut for the Chiefs on Sunday night. Andy Reid pointed to Toney being in uniform against the Titans, via the Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope (on Twitter). Toney has not played since Week 2. After he battled myriad injuries as a rookie, the former Giants first-round pick encountered issues with both hamstrings this season. The mercurial speedster, who has missed 12 career games, will attempt to stay healthy as he joins a Chiefs team that has started to see steady production from its post-Tyreek Hill receiving corps.
  • Shifting to the Chargers‘ receiving corps, Keenan Allen is aiming to avoid a lost season. The Chargers have ruled out their five-time Pro Bowl target due to the hamstring injury he suffered back in Week 1. Allen experienced a setback earlier this season but returned on a limited snap count in Week 7, but the 10th-year veteran said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry) he exited the Bolts’ bye week feeling worse than he had before. Allen added that he was not 100% when he played in Week 7 and would not return again until he was full-go. After posting four 1,100-plus-yard seasons over the past five years, Allen has seen his absence hurt Los Angeles’ passing attack — one likely also impacted by the rib injury Justin Herbert suffered earlier this year. Mike Williams is also navigating an extended injury absence due to a high ankle sprain.
  • The hits keep coming for the Chargers. They will be without former first-round defensive lineman Jerry Tillery this week. Brandon Staley said the rotational D-tackle suffered a back injury weightlifting this week. Despite not starting and the Bolts not picking up his fifth-year option, Tillery has played 43% of the team’s defensive snaps this season.

Broncos’ Jerry Jeudy Viewed As Available; KJ Hamler, Melvin Gordon Drawing Interest

The latest London game will feature two 2-5 teams — one of them set to debut a rather odd uniform combination — and lacks the appeal the Giants-Packers matchup brought. But Sunday’s Broncos-Jaguars meeting figures to have a major impact on next week’s trade deadline.

As the interest in Jerry Jeudy persists, the third-year Broncos wide receiver is now viewed as available, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. An initial report indicated the Broncos were not planning to trade the former first-round pick, but interest may be developing to the point the franchise is prepared to follow through.

KJ Hamler and Melvin Gordon are two other Broncos who have also drawn some interest, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. Bradley Chubb joins them. Chubb and Jeudy would bring back the most in returns, but Gordon and Hamler have each been three-year contributors in Denver. The Broncos’ disastrous start has piqued teams’ interest re: trades, with Fowler adding teams believe Denver GM George Paton is willing to deal multiple players.

Chubb and Jeudy might carry similar value; Day 2 draft capital is likely required to pry either from the freefalling Broncos. But the latter is believed to be close with Russell Wilson and would stand to be a considerable asset in Wilson’s second Broncos season. Jeudy, 23, is three years younger than Chubb and would profile as a cheaper complement to Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, who each signed extensions during the 2021 season.

Providing slot ability Sutton and Patrick lack, Jeudy has flashed at points during his Broncos tenure. Injuries have, however, limited the Alabama alum, who arrived in Denver before Paton. John Elway‘s final first-round pick as GM, Jeudy has also seen the Broncos’ struggles at quarterback limit him. A team eyeing the 6-foot-1 pass catcher would stand to believe it can unlock more from a player who can be controlled on his rookie deal (via the fifth-year option) through 2024. Jeudy’s contract enhances his value, even if his production has come in below draft-class peers Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb and Tee Higgins.

The Broncos chose Hamler in the 2020 second round, but injuries and inconsistency have defined his career. An ACL tear and hip injury in Week 3 of the 2021 season kept Hamler out to the point the Broncos sat him in an early-season game this year. But the Penn State-developed deep threat has played in six games this season. Jeudy’s 386 receiving yards are second on the team; Hamler is only at 113 (on five catches). The latter’s trade value will be considerably lower.

Gordon, 29, has not seen eye-to-eye, usage-wise, with embattled HC Nathaniel Hackett. Whereas Hackett has run into trouble on most fronts, Gordon’s fumbling problem has led to his reduced standing. Since Gordon signed a two-year, $16MM Broncos deal in 2020, he has fumbled 11 times. No other running back in that span has put the ball on the ground more than nine times. Javonte Williams‘ injury did not lead to a full-time Gordon role, with Latavius Murray — signed off the Saints’ practice squad — soon taking over as Denver’s primary back. This has led to frustration from Gordon, who has still started the past three Broncos games. He is averaging 3.5 yards per carry this season. The two-time Pro Bowler did combine for 20 touchdowns during his first two Broncos slates.

The former Chargers first-rounder re-signed on a one-year, $2.5MM deal that includes a $2.15MM base salary. Gordon joins Cam Akers and Kareem Hunt as prominent backs who could be moved before the Nov. 1 deadline. Gordon might be dealt regardless of the Broncos’ result against the Jaguars, joining Albert Okwuegbunam in that regard. But Denver’s outing against Jacksonville might determine where high-profile cogs like Jeudy and Chubb finish the season.

A regular deadline seller in recent years, Denver has traded Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Von Miller since 2018. The Wilson trade also stripped Denver of its first- and second-round picks in 2023. Will the team make a move to recoup Day 2 value?

Broncos Elevate S Anthony Harris; RB Latavius Murray Expected To Be Inactive

Latavius Murray may well become a key factor in the Broncos’ rushing attack. The veteran declined a promotion to the Saints’ 53-man roster in order to accept the Broncos’ offer of joining their active roster, but he is not expected to suit up for Denver’s Thursday matchup.

Citing a quick turnaround from Murray’s London game and his move into a new offense, the Broncos will keep Murray on the shelf for tonight’s Colts tilt, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Murray remains on the Broncos’ active roster; he just will be a gameday inactive.

The Broncos are instead elevating running back Devine Ozigbo from their practice squad. Ozigbo will join Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone as Denver’s active backs in Week 5. Despite having been benched for his fumble against the Raiders, Gordon is expected to work as the Broncos’ lead back tonight, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. It is safe to assume Gordon’s leash, in light of his fourth fumble in four games (running his Denver total to 11 — most among running backs since 2020), will be short.

Using the CBA’s gameday elevation provision, the Saints bumped Murray up to their active roster ahead of their London matchup with the Vikings. Murray logged 11 carried for 57 yards and a touchdown against his former team but reverted to New Orleans’ taxi squad after the game. He then trekked from London to New Orleans to Denver. Murray, 32, will have an extra week and change to get up to speed in Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense. The Broncos face the Chargers in Week 6’s Monday-night game.

Additionally, the Broncos promoted safety Anthony Harris to their active roster. Like Murray, Harris was in Minnesota during now-Denver GM George Paton’s lengthy tenure; the eighth-year defender joined the Broncos’ practice squad last month but has not played for the team yet. Harris sought a release from the Eagles’ practice squad, in order to select a better path toward a 2022 role. The ex-Vikings and Eagles starter should be on the field for his new team Thursday.

Harris, 30, has made 61 career starts. The Vikings franchise-tagged Harris in 2020 but did not prioritize retaining him in 2021, leading to an Eagles agreement. Harris was a full-time Philadelphia starter last season and re-signed on a lower-cost deal this offseason. But the Eagles were not as impressed with his training camp. Philly cut both Harris and Jaquiski Tartt, moving Marcus Epps into a full-time role and acquiring C.J. Gardner-Johnson from the Saints. While Harris circled back to Philly’s practice squad, he did not remain there long.

The Broncos will be without second-year safety P.J. Locke, who suffered a concussion against the Raiders, and Pro Bowler Justin Simmons remains on IR. Kareem Jackson and Caden Sterns have worked as Denver’s safety starters in Simmons’ absence. Harris, who led the NFL in interceptions with six in 2019, could see some snaps behind the starters.

Broncos Notes: Offensive Line, Veteran CB Search, Javonte Williams

With OTAs and mandatory minicamp finished across the league, organizations and media members alike have had the chance to break down some of the elements of the offseason which have stood out the most to them. In the case of the Broncos, 9News’ Mike Klis has detailed some of his key observations.

Among those is the plethora of variances in the team’s offensive line combinations during practices. Klis notes that the most commonly-used unit comprised Garett Bolles and Dalton Risner on the left side, with Lloyd Cushenberry III at center and Quinn Meinerz and Calvin Anderson occupying right guard and right tackle, respectively.

There are a number of other options being plugged into various positions, though. Included among those is Netane Muti, who has seen work with the other starters while filling in at both guard positions, as well as Graham Glasgow, who recently returned to practice to compete for a starting role. Lastly, Klis lists Billy Turner as a veteran who is “expected to play” somewhere along the o-line. The 30-year-old came back to the Broncos on a one-year, $5MM deal this offseason, but is also the linemen most experienced in working with new HC Nathaniel Hackett. 

Here are a few other notes from that same Klis piece:

  • Cornerback had the potential to be an area of need, at least in terms of depth behind Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Darby and K’Waun Williams, at this point in the offseason. However, Klis cites the play of Michael Ojemudia during the spring as cause for optimism that the team’s best option for the No. 4 role may already be on the roster. The 2020 third-rounder is set to compete with Damarri Mathis, whom the Broncos drafted in the fourth round this year, for that spot. A number of veteran free agents could still “wind up on GM George Paton’s radar,” Klis notes, however.
  • To no surprise, running back Javonte Williams is expected to “bump up to the 1A role” in 2022. In his rookie season, the North Carolina alum produced over 1,200 scrimmage yards despite splitting carries with Melvin Gordon, who signed a one-year deal to stay in Denver. Given his the former’s efficiency, and the seven-year age gap between the two, Williams is the logical candidate to assume a larger workload going forward.

 

Broncos Re-Sign RB Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon is sticking around Denver. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the veteran running back is re-signing with the Broncos. It’s a one-year deal. Jordan Schultz was first with the news that the RB was re-signing with the organization.

Earlier this evening, Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reported (on Twitter) that the Broncos were “in discussions” about bringing back the veteran running back for another season. Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post was first to tweet that the two sides were discussing a new one-year deal. Per Klis (on Twitter), the deal is worth $2.5MM, with Gordon having the chance to earn up to $4MM.

As Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets, Broncos GM George Paton has kept an open dialogue with the veteran RB throughout the offseason, and new head coach Nathaniel Hackett has also shown interest in having a pair of trusted running backs on his roster. Now, the Broncos can roll forward with their successful 2021 tandem, with Gordon joining 2021 second-rounder Javonte Williams in Denver’s backfield.

Following five years with the Chargers, Gordon inked a two-year, $16MM deal with the Broncos in 2020. The 29-year-old couldn’t expect as much this time around; a report from earlier this offseason indicated that the RB could expect a one-year, $2.5MM deal. The veteran eventually changed agents, going from Fletcher Smith and Damarius Bilbo to Brian Murphy and Joe Panos of Athletes First, and the move apparently garnered him some extra cash.

Gordon stood as one of the best free agent RBs remaining on the market, especially since he’s posted more than 1,100 all-purpose yards in each of his last two seasons. He’s also scored exactly ten touchdowns in each of those Broncos campaigns. Gordon also generated interest from the Ravens before landing back in Denver.

Ravens, Melvin Gordon In Talks

The Ravens are in contract talks with Melvin Gordon (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). If all goes well, the former Broncos running back wind up being a part of Baltimore’s revamped group.

[RELATED: Latest On Gordon’s Market]

Gordon, who turns 29 next week, recently changed agents, going from Fletcher Smith and Damarius Bilbo to Brian Murphy and Joe Panos of Athletes First. Recently, it was reported that Gordon was likely in line for a one-year deal worth roughly $2.5MM. That’d be a big drop-off from his two-year, $16MM deal with Denver, but the market is rarely kind to “older” running backs.

Gordon stands as one of the best free agent RBs remaining, especially since he’s posted more than 1,100 all-purpose yards in each of his last two seasons. He’s also scored exactly ten touchdowns in each of those Broncos campaigns.

The Broncos could conceivably bring him back into the fold, though they’ve got rising second-year pro Javonte Williams, and he’s ready to take on a larger role.

I have been wanting to come back. I would love to win championship in Denver. I made a lot of great relationships with the guys. I feel like we have a really good team. To leave a talented team and go somewhere else would suck,” Gordon said in March. “It’s a job unfinished, and we need to finish the jobI talked with [GM] George [Paton]. We spoke on it. He told me he thinks highly of me. I really like the way he runs things and does things.”

Right now, it seems more likely that Gordon will join up with the Ravens, who wound up leaning on Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray for much of 2021.