Melvin Gordon is back from his holdout and will be taking the field earlier than expected, but the Los Angeles Chargers reportedly don’t have big plans for him in Week 4.
Gordon ended his holdout this week, several weeks earlier than initially expected, and the team announced that he will be activated for the team’s game against the Miami Dolphins. But as USA Today reporter Mike Jones noted, the Chargers don’t plan on feeding him the ball too much.
“Source says Chargers plan to play Melvin Gordon on a limited snap count tomorrow,” Jones reported.
Gordon was one of the most-utilized backs in 2018, with a total of 225 touches — all despite missing four games — and heavy use in both running and passing games. The Chargers have leaned on backup Austin Ekeler during Gordon’s absence this year, and Pro Football Talk speculated that the Chargers could stick with a platoon approach now that Gordon is back on the team’s 53-man roster.
“The big question will be whether Gordon actually adds anything to the Chargers’ offense,” the report noted.
“Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson have handled the running back position in Gordon’s absence, and there’s not much reason to think Gordon will do a significantly better job than they have. But he’ll get his chance to show what he can do on Sunday.”
Melvin Gordon could have a bit of extra motivation to up his workload, however. As The Inquisitr noted, Gordon is likely to be leaving the Chargers after the end of the season and trying his luck in free agency. Gordon had been seeking a new deal from the Chargers, reportedly asking to be paid among the top running backs in the league at between $13 million and $15 million. The Chargers only went as high as $10 million in their offer before publicly saying that contract negotiations would be off until the season had ended.
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Gordon could have lost a bit of leverage in seeking a new deal as both Ekeler and fellow backup Justin Jackson showed strong performances in his absence, and the market for running backs has changed considerably in recent years as teams have taken a pass-heavy approach.
That may have played a role in Gordon coming back earlier than expected. Initial reports seemed to indicate that Gordon would stay away from the team until November, which would be the cutoff for him to get credit for the final year of his contract and head into free agency.