The Los Angeles Chargers are apparently ready to move on from Melvin Gordon, but only if they get a nice return.
After a weeks-long stalemate between the two sides as Gordon seeks a new contract, the Chargers said this week that they are done negotiating until after the season and have now set a price tag for any team looking to land the running back by trade. As Pro Football Talk reported, the Chargers are willing to listen to offers for Gordon and told one potential trade partner that it would cost a first-round pick and a fifth-round pick in return.
Though the price is high, there is at least one team in “preliminary communications” with the Chargers in an attempt to work out a deal, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported on Twitter. It’s not clear how serious the trade partner might be, but the Chargers seem to be motivated to move Gordon and move on from the drama. On Monday, head coach Anthony Lynn made it clear that the team is prepared to go forward without the 26-year-old running back, who has amassed 3,628 yards and 28 touchdowns in four seasons with the Chargers.
“I’m just ready to move on — we’re playing games,” Lynn said.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggested that the high asking price for Melvin Gordon could just be the opener from the Chargers, and noted that the team still has plenty of options. As such, the Chargers reportedly won’t be pressed into trading Gordon if they can’t get the return they want.
“Ultimately, the Chargers can do whatever they want. They hold the cards, and they can sit and wait for Gordon to show up, get credit for the fifth year of his rookie deal, and then let him walk away as a free agent, sign him to a long-term deal, tag him, or tag him and trade him,” the report noted.
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 4, 2019
Florio added that, because the Chargers offered Gordon $10 million annually in a contract that he rejected, it’s likely that the team is willing to bend a bit on the asking price of a first-round pick. If the Chargers believed Gordon’s value was equal to a first-rounder, their contract offer would have reflected that and been higher, he noted.
It’s not clear just how serious the Los Angeles Chargers may be in the preliminary trade talks, and the other team has not yet been identified. Meanwhile, Melvin Gordon would need to return near the midway point of this season in order to get credit for the year and head off to free agency in the 2020 offseason.