NFL

NFL: Chargers Need Melvin Gordon to End His Holdout

In the last few months, Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has continued to stick firm in his contract holdout, with the team staying equally as stern. However, the Chargers have gotten off to a bit of a rough start to the year, dropping two out of their first three games, and it has become evident that they need their Pro Bowl running back in the mix.

Melvin Gordon’s rise to stardom with Chargers

Following a rough start out of the gate to his NFL career, Gordon has established himself as one of the premier running backs. In his first four years, he has tallied 3,628 rushing yards and 1,577 receiving yards with 38 total touchdowns.

He has become a legitimate dual-threat option out of the backfield in both the running and passing game. He has increasingly become more involved in the passing game, notching north of 40 receptions in the last three years and topped more than 50 catches in each of the past two campaigns.

Gordon was on pace for a career-best year in 2018, but a knee injury cost him four games in the second half of the season. When healthy, he has proven to be among the most productive running backs in the league, which has only factored in more greatly into his contract holdout.

Melvin Gordon’s firm contract demands

In the fifth-year option of his rookie deal, Gordon has taken a strong stance on his desire for an extension with the Chargers. He has made it clear that he wants to be the next running back to cash in with a significant pay raise, putting him in the same company as Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and Le’Veon Bell.

However, it hasn’t worked out in that fashion as Los Angeles has also stayed firm in the negotiations process with the Wisconsin product that has halted contract talks. The Chargers are believed to have concerns with Gordon’s long-term health given that he has already dealt with a few notable injuries over the last couple of years.

This has become a bigger driving point, especially after how things have transpired with the Los Angeles Rams now having to manage Gurley’s workload due to knee issues. The Chargers want to avoid that route altogether, but did reportedly offer Gordon a deal that would have paid him roughly more than $10 million annually that was declined by the Pro Bowler.

The process has also seen both sides consider the trade market as a potential option where there could have been a couple of possible landing spots, but things have continued to remain at a standstill. That said, there finally appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.

Chargers’ slow start signaling the need for Melvin Gordon

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon
Melvin Gordon’s return should help the Chargers get back on track. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In Gordon’s absence, the Chargers have been able to get stable production with their combination of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in both the running and passing game.

Ekeler has taken the bulk of the workload by recording 160 rushing yards and two touchdowns but has been a bigger factor as a receiver with 19 receptions for 208 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He has certainly made the most of his opportunity, but Gordon provides another element to the offense that the Chargers have had great success with him being a huge part of their game plan.

There are now reports suggesting that Gordon could end his holdout soon returning to the team as early as this week. Although the earliest he could play would be Oct. 6 against the Denver Broncos, his presence in the backfield would provide a significant boost.

Los Angeles has certainly received strong play from its duo of Ekeler and Jackson, but Gordon may be the missing piece to the puzzle that gets them on track towards making a strong push to the playoffs.