Melvin Gordon has apparently planned his return to the Los Angeles Chargers, but the running back’s time away from the team could significantly hurt his chances of scoring the contract he’s been eyeing.
Gordon has been holding out from the Chargers as he seeks a new contract extension. Reports indicated that Gordon wanted to be paid the same as the top running backs in the league, somewhere in the neighborhood of $13 million to $14 million per season. The Chargers had offered $10 million, which Gordon refused as he continued to sit out. As ESPN reported last week, the Chargers announced that they were cutting off any contract talks until after the season and gave Gordon’s representation permission to seek a trade out of Los Angeles.
Melvin Gordon has now apparently set a date for his return to the Chargers. He would be unable to sit out the entire season if he wanted credit for the final year on his rookie contract, and the NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that Gordon is now planning to return by late October or early November, which would be between Week 6 and Week 8 of the season.
“At that point, Gordon will play on his existing deal, the fifth-year option which pays him $5.6 million and makes him already one of the NFL’s highest paid runners,” the report noted. “By reporting during the planned window, Gordon will avoid missing the Week 10 deadline which will allow him to accrue a season and become a free agent this coming offseason.”
But missing that time could significantly hurt Gordon’s chances of getting the contract he had been eyeing. The Chargers said they felt confident starting the season with the running back duo of Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler, and the pair made the team forget about Gordon in Week 1. Though the two combined for just over 100 yards rushing between them, Ekeler was effective in the passing game including hauling in a screen pass and taking it 55 yards for a touchdown. Ekeler caught another one-yard touchdown as well, and later had the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
If the running back duo continues to put up strong performances, it could hurt Gordon’s standing and severely impact his ability to get a contract putting him on par with the league’s top running backs.
Melvin Gordon who? pic.twitter.com/jpuV0KHiOQ
— StatHero (@survivethehero) September 8, 2019
That sound you hear is Melvin Gordon’s stock dropping with every yard Ekeler has gotten today.
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 8, 2019
While the trade market for Melvin Gordon appeared weak at first, with teams reportedly balking at the price of a first- and fifth-round pick that the Chargers were asking, there could also be more action if teams see him as expendable or if the Chargers are willing to bend on the asking price a bit.