Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay — and his puffy hair — burst onto the scene two years ago in a big way.
Now in his third season, Lindsay is following in the path of players like wide receiver Rod Smith as undrafted Broncos who have thrived in the altitude.
Finally healthy after a foot injury earlier this year, Lindsay is positioning himself to earn a significant raise from the Denver Broncos this offseason.
Phillip Lindsay is an underappreciated star
Standing only 5 feet 8 inches and weighing 190 pounds, Phillip Lindsay understandably entered the NFL with concerns about his size.
Lindsay went undrafted in 2018, however, and signed with his hometown Broncos as a free agent. Lindsay was born in Denver and played college football at Colorado-Boulder, so he knew the area well.
In 15 games and eight starts as a rookie, Lindsay ran for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns on 5.4 yards per carry. Lindsay nearly broke Dominic Rhodes’ single-season rushing record by an undrafted rookie; Rhodes picked up 1,104 rushing yards on the Colts in 2001.
Lindsay again topped 1,000 yards and ran for seven touchdowns last year, but his yards per carry dipped from 5.4 to 4.5. A capable receiver, Lindsay snagged 70 catches for 437 yards and a touchdown in his first two seasons.
Lindsay has played well this year when healthy
Phillip Lindsay opened the 2020 season with 24 yards on seven carries and an 11-yard catch in a Week 1 loss to Derrick Henry and the Titans.
Lindsay missed over a month, however, with turf toe. The third-year running back returned in Week 6 and totaled 101 yards on 23 carries in an 18-12 victory over Cam Newton and the Patriots.
Lindsay ran for 79 yards on nine carries in a Week 7 home loss to Kansas City.
Although Lindsay ran for 83 yards on six carries in a Week 8 home game against Chargers, 55 of those yards came on a third-quarter touchdown. Denver trailed 24-3 at the time and rallied to win, 31-30.
The Broncos, at 3-4, have an outside chance at sneaking into the AFC wild card race.
Phillip Lindsay could earn a major extension this offseason
Officially, Phillip Lindsay is a restricted free agent after the season.
Denver would be wise to keep Lindsay around and sign him to a solid extension. Although Lindsay’s size will always work against him, he has been a very productive running back and is a local favorite.
Denver signed Melvin Gordon last offseason to split carries with Lindsay. Gordon, 27, ran for 375 yards and four touchdowns on 4.2 yards per attempt through an inconsistent first six games.
Gordon is under contract through next season. Denver may want to consider drafting a running back in the middle rounds, especially if Gordon hits a wall next season.
As for Lindsay, he is deserving of a new contract. According to Spotrac, Lindsay is only making $750,000 this season.
If the Broncos intend to break their playoff drought, Lindsay is definitely a player worth retaining.
All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.