With the NFL’s preseason underway, that means it’s the time of year for holdouts. For some players, they work, earning them the new contracts they so richly deserve. Others aren’t so lucky, being forced to end their holdout early while getting nothing more than fines and a few weeks off for their troubles. One of these unlucky players is Melvin Gordon.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is currently in the midst of a holdout. It may end with him getting traded, but his options are limited. Let’s look at where Melvin Gordon may end up if he can’t strike a deal with the Chargers.
Melvin Gordon’s career numbers
The Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon with the 15th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin. He’s put up some https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/G/GordMe00.htmsolid numbers since entering the league, including:
- 3,628 rushing yards
- 28 touchdowns
- 1,577 receiving yards
- 182 receptions
- 66 yards per game
- Four yards per carry
- Two Pro Bowl selections
- He’s been in the top ten in scoring touchdowns all three seasons of his career
Pro Football Reference compiles “similar players” who each player compares to at different points in their career. Gordon has had similar production compared to Reggie Bush, Rashard Mendenhall, and Eric Metcalf.
Why is Melvin Gordon holding out?
According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the source of Gordon’s discontent is his compensation:
“He’s justifiably upset that the fifth-year option on his rookie contract is scheduled to pay him just $5.6 million this year, and he wants a new deal that pays him like the high-level performer he has been. Both sides hope they can reach a deal that makes him happy by the time the season starts. If they can’t, sure, there’s a chance the Chargers could look to trade Gordon.”
Gordon’s holdout is costly. Pro Football Talk reports that he’ll be fined considerably for missing each preseason game.” PFT also pointed out that sitting the entire year will do no favors for Gordon as it did for Le’Veon Bell. Gordon isn’t a free agent the following season as Bell was.
Despite having leverage in this case, the Chargers may decide to trade Melvin Gordon to cut their losses. If so, they’ll have two partners that are a better fit than anyone else.
2 potential trade destinations for Melvin Gordon
The Sporting News identified two teams that make the most sense for Gordon are the Houston Texans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here’s the case for each.
Houston has plenty of cap room without a clear-cut number one running back with Lamar Miller and D’Onta Freeman in camp. Gordon would immediately come in as the starter while the team gives him the deal he’s seeking.
Having a better running back such as Gordon would also help DeShaun Watson in the passing game. Having a more credible threat on the ground would help open up the deep ball. Although with the recent addition of Duke Johnson, the Texans could be out of this discussion.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Like Houston, Tampa Bay does not have a viable number one running back currently sitting on their depth chart. Unlike Houston, they do not have a ton of cap space.
But new offensive-minded Bucs coach Bruce Arians could use a back like Melvin Gordon. His ability to work as a receiver out of the backfield could help Jameis Winston as he attempts to reignite his career.
The bottom line is that neither of these situations is better for Melvin Gordon than staying in L.A. While he has a point about being under-compensated, unfortunately, there’s little he can do about it due to his contract situation. Gordon would be better off ending the holdout, playing with the Chargers, and hoping he can earn an extension this offseason.