Melvin Gordon

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.

Latest On Melvin Gordon

As one of the top remaining options at the running back position, Melvin Gordon is a name worth watching in the secondary waves of free agency. As Pro Football Network’s Mike Florio details, there has been a notable update with respect to his financial future. 

Gordon has changed agents in the middle of the offseason. Instead of Fletcher Smith and Damarius Bilbo, he will now be represented by Brian Murphy and Joe Panos from Athletes First. It had been recently reported that the Broncos were one of multiple teams interested in Gordon, so the veteran does seem to have generated a market for himself. Regardless of where he lands next, though, he is likely to earn much less than he did on his previous contract.

Florio reports that the 28-year-old’s market “is believed to be in the range of $2.5MM on a one-year deal”. That would mark a steep pay cut compared to the two-year, $16MM deal he signed in Denver two seasons ago. The former Charger was productive in his time with the Broncos, posting over 1,100 scrimmage yards and exactly 10 touchdowns in each campaign. Given those numbers, it didn’t come as a surprise that there was said to be a mutual interest between he and the team for a new contract.

However, the presence of 2021 second-round pick Javonte Williams complicates the matter. Operating in a time share with Gordon, Williams flashed the potential to take over as an undisputed No. 1 back last season. Even if Gordon does re-sign, then, it would only make sense to do so at a significantly reduced rate and with – quite likely – a smaller workload. With new representation, a new deal (from Denver or another club) could be coming sooner rather than later.

Latest On Melvin Gordon, Kareem Jackson

Running back Melvin Gordon and safety Kareem Jackson remain two of the top remaining free agents from the 2021 Broncos. Not surprisingly, general manager George Paton recently reiterated his desire to keep both veterans, as noted by Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper

Earlier this month it became known that there was mutual interest between Gordon and the team for a new deal to reached. The 28-year-old has spent the past two seasons in Denver, after five with the Chargers. The one-time Pro Bowler seemed to be on the way out given the emergence of 2021 second rounder Javonte Williams, but Gordon remained productive working in a time-share last season. He recorded 1,131 scrimmage yards and 10 total touchdowns, which is almost identical to his numbers from 2020.

Gordon’s dialogue with the Broncos has made it clear that he understands re-signing with Denver would not involve an every-down role as the undisputed starter. As Denver7’s Troy Renck reports (on Twitter), he is “open to returning and sharing” the workload with Williams, who had a highly efficient rookie campaign. With that said, Renck adds that the Broncos are one of “multiple teams interested” in adding Gordon.

As for Jackson, there has been a similar desire shared between player and club to strike a new deal. The corner-turned-safety will be 34 by the start of the season. The former Texan has already shown a willingness to accommodate a re-worked deal with Denver, as he signed a one-year contract last offseason following his release from a more lucrative pact. The former first rounder has started all 44 of his games as a Bronco, recording 177 tackles and four interceptions.

When asked about negotiations with both players, Paton said, “we’ve spoken to both their agents. It’s ongoing. We’d love to bring everyone back, but we just can’t do it. We’re still talking with those two — really good players”. The Broncos currently have just over $16MM in cap space remaining, so finding the room for at least one should be relatively straightforward. Both of them suiting up for Denver again in 2022 is still a distinct possibility, though.

Texans To Re-Sign Royce Freeman

The Texans are re-signing Royce Freeman (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). It’ll be a one-year deal for the veteran running back, who returns for his fifth pro season. 

[RELATED: Texans Sign D. Ogunbowale]

Freeman got into seven games for Houston last year, notching 92 yards off of 35 totes. He also added seven grabs for 62 yards, showing a little bit of the pass-catching skills he exhibited in 2019.

Freeman totaled 297 career carries for 1,187 yards and eight touchdowns with the Broncos. On the whole, the Oregon product has struggled with consistency, but he’s still only 26 and can offer solid support for the Texans’ RB group.

As of this writing, the Texans have four RBs under contract in Freeman, Rex Burkhead, Darius Anderson, Scottie Phillips, and Dare Ogunbowale. Ogunbowale, formerly of the Jaguars, agreed to join Houston last night on a two-year, $3.3MM deal.

Denver Emerging As Premier QB Destination

We wrote a bit earlier today on the Broncos being among multiple AFC teams who “have trade compensation lined up with the Packers,” in relation to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Well, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Denver has emerged as a prime location for many of the league’s veteran quarterbacks looking for a potential change of scenery.

The Broncos recently hired former Packers’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to replace Vic Fangio, who failed to accomplish a winning season in three years with the Broncos. The former Green Bay staffer represents an obvious and strong connection for Rodgers. Should Rodgers decide to move on from the Packers, having a play-caller that he’s familiar with could add some allure to the Mile High City. Another intriguing aspect that could bring a star quarterback to Denver is the addition of former Vikings’ offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak as passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Kubiak just helped Kirk Cousins turn in one of his best seasons in Minnesota.

Hackett and company inherit an impressive roster posed to perform. The defense is comprised of veterans like outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, safety Justin Simmons, defensive end Shelby Harris, and cornerback Ronald Darby. There are a number of free agents that Denver would like to bring back like cornerbacks Bryce Callahan & Kyle Fuller, defensive back Kareem Jackson, inside linebacker Josey Jewell, and outside linebacker Malik Reed. Even if they fail to bring some of those names back, the Broncos saw impressive seasons last year for youngsters like cornerback Patrick Surtain II, linebacker Baron Browning, defensive end Dre’Mont Jones, and safety Caden Sterns. The list of defensive players above may not overwhelm you with stardom, but, together, the Broncos defense ranked third in the league in points allowed and eighth in the league in yards allowed.

In addition to a brand new offense and stacked defense, Denver boasts a nice array of young offensive weapons. An impressive receiving corps is led by veteran 26-year-old Courtland Sutton, young star Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick, who has broken out a bit over the past two seasons. The Broncos also have two talented, young receiving tight ends in Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam. Any quarterback looking to join in on the fun would potentially have the benefit of a two-headed rushing attack that was 79 yards short of a combined 2,000-yard rushing season. Running back Javonte Williams enjoyed a healthy dose of carries in his rookie season, and there is mutual interest in bringing back Melvin Gordon.

Rodgers is obviously a name to keep an eye on as the decision on his future in Green Bay looms on the horizon. He has said that he will let the Packers know of his intentions before the franchise tag deadline so they can figure out how to deal with free agent wide receiver Davante Adams. In addition to Rodgers, though, keep an eye out for Denver to make moves on other quarterbacks searching for greener pastures. Russell Wilson has long been rumored to be interested in moving on from Seattle, and Deshaun Watson is still searching for a new home.

Whether Rodgers, Wilson, Watson, or some other under-the-radar name, look for the Broncos to make a move for a star quarterback. If they are able to find the right fit, the move could bring them into contention for what could easily turn into the toughest division in football.

Mutual Interest Between Broncos, Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon arrived in Denver during John Elway‘s final offseason as GM. Despite a rocky tenure and the Broncos changing coaching staffs, the former first-round pick is on the radar to stay.

George Paton said this week he would like to retain Gordon, and the ex-Charger confirmed he has spoken with the second-year GM this offseason. Gordon, 29 in April, would prefer to return for a third Broncos season.

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, via Denver7’s Troy Renck. “It’s a job unfinished, and we need to finish the job.

I talked with George. We spoke on it. He told me he thinks highly of me. I really like the way he runs things and does things.”

[RELATED: Broncos Remain In Contention For Aaron Rodgers]

Gordon’s 2020 arrival marginalized Denver native Phillip Lindsay, leading to the latter’s RFA tender being rescinded last year, and his presence minimized Javonte Williams‘ rookie-year role. Gordon was also arrested for DUI in 2020, though the charges were eventually dismissed, and fumbled seven times over the past two seasons — tied for second-most in the NFL in that span.

The Wisconsin alum also topped 900 rushing yards each year, exceeded 4.5 yards per carry in both Denver seasons and totaled 20 touchdowns as a Bronco. His presence almost certainly helped Williams stay fresh in his debut season.

A return likely comes down to Gordon’s market. The Broncos gave him a two-year, $16MM deal previously. Younger free agents like Leonard Fournette, James Conner, Chase Edmonds, Rashaad Penny are also set to hit free agency. While the Broncos running back the Gordon-Williams pairing makes sense to a degree, the team has needs at higher-value spots and is prepared to devote significant funding to a quarterback upgrade. With Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick now on veteran deals, that also stands to eat into money that could go toward a Gordon return. Third-stringer Mike Boone is also under contract for 2022, on a $2.1MM cap number.

Update On Broncos’ Fant, Chubb, Gordon

With a new head coach in place, the Broncos now face a number of key decisions on their roster. In a recent conversation with the team’s website, general manager George Paton outlined his views on a number of players and position groups, including tight end Noah Fant, edge rusher Bradley Chubb and running back Melvin Gordon

The team needs to decide by May whether or not to pick up Fant’s fifth year option. Considering Paton waited until after the draft to make that same decision with Chubb, it may be a while before the former 20th-overall pick learns his fate. When asked about Fant, Paton said, “he probably wasn’t as productive as he would have liked… He needs to work in the run game, and he knows that”, while still acknowledging his pass-catching ability. Fant has put up almost identical numbers the past two seasons, averaging 65 catches for just over 630 yards and seven total touchdowns in that span.

As for Chubb, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, Paton remains optimistic that he can recover from the ankle surgery that cut his 2021 season short. Even though Chubb was held without a sack in seven games, Paton said “I expect great things from him”. More work will be done with the team’s pass rushers, though, as Malik Reed and Stephen Weatherly are pending restricted and unrestricted free agents, respectively. Paton made clear his desire to add a “mismatch-type rusher”, especially given the void left by Von Miller.

Finally, Paton seemed to open the door to Gordon returning. The 28-year-old signed with Denver two years ago, but is now a pending UFA. While he topped 1,100 scrimmage yards in both seasons with the Broncos, the presence of 2021 second round pick Javonte Williams has many feeling the veteran will need to find a new home. Paton said, though, that Gordon “had a heck of a year”, adding ” I like Melvin a lot”.

The decisions made with those three players – and within their respective position groups – will go a long way to shaping the rest of the team’s offseason moves, and in turn, their attempt to return to the postseason.

Broncos Rule Out RB Melvin Gordon

After not participating in practice this week, running back Melvin Gordon has been downgraded to out on the injury report for this Sunday’s primetime game in Kansas City. The wear and tear of the season seems to be taking its toll on Gordon as we approach Week 13 of the NFL season.

In last week’s win over the Chargers, Gordon left the game early after injuring his hip. He returned and finished the game rushing 17 times for 83 yards. Denver wasted no time in addressing Gordon’s injury, holding him out of practice to help him recover. Over the course of the week, though, it became apparent that Gordon’s hip injury, partnered with a shoulder injury, was going to take a little more time to heal.

The Broncos will not be without help in the running game, as rookie second-round pick Javonte Williams is set to make his first career start. The North Carolina product has been essentially splitting carries with Gordon all year, carrying the ball 117 times to Gordon’s 135. He’s been about as productive with the opportunities he’s received as the seven-year veteran, as well, racking up 568 yards to Gordon’s 605 yards.

Williams’ success as a rookie gives Denver the flexibility to allow Gordon a week’s rest. They’ll try to get Gordon as healthy as possible as they prepare for a crucial last few weeks in the regular season. They sit one game back of the 1st place Chiefs and boast the same record as the Chargers and Raiders with four divisional games remaining on the schedule.