Melvin Gordon wants a trade if he isn’t signed to a long-term deal, and his backups would be next in line to take over for the star running back.
Though Melvin Gordon’s demands are breaking news, it’s not new or unexpected news to any Chargers fan who has followed the recent history of running back contracts. Just last year, Le’Veon Bell held out for an entire season due to to contract disputes and the hope for an extension. Gordon wouldn’t be the first player in NFL history to hold out or demand a trade, nor will he be the last.
Gordon may have had one of the more disappointing rookie seasons for a Chargers player back in 2013, but has steadily improved every year and posted a career-best 5.1 yards per rush and 490 receiving yards. It’s hard to sell a stock that’s nearing its peak, but the risk of diminishing returns or a complete crash in value due to injury
The one shining light through all of this: Tom Telesco has a strong set of reserve backs who can step in and perform. It’s difficult to project just how well Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, and Detrez Newsome would perform as the starting rotation; Ekeler was not spectacular in his starts, Jackson has limited game action, and Newsome has the least NFL snaps of the three.
However, all three have the potential to exceed their snaps and stats from last season. Ekeler is one of the most productive Chargers backs over the last decade, and his efficiency (over five yards per carry) could hold even with more carries due to a potentially improved offensive line. Heading into the season knowing Ekeler and Jackson are the primary backs will help develop a game plan that features them better, rather than something like the disappointing showing in London where the team found out 24 hours before that Gordon could not play. Newsome was a preseason standout a year ago, and would easily make the roster with Gordon gone.