Melvin Gordon has used the old “give me more money or trade me” line that almost never works out well for athletes and teams alike.
Let’s be honest, we all saw this coming, right?
Gordon is entering the final year of his contract after his fifth-year option was picked up by the team last May. He is set to earn $5.6 million this season, according to Spotrac. He would then become an unrestricted free agent next year.
Gordon is looking to get an extension before the season starts and if not, he would like the team to explore trade options.
The Chargers would be foolish to pay him the kind of money he is looking for, which would likely be in the neighborhood of $12-14 million per season. Todd Gurley of the cross-town Los Angeles Rams signed a four-year, $60 million extension last year. He and Gordon were drafted in the same year.
Few teams are going to get by with paying a running back that type of money and the Chargers, The team has an extension for Joey Bosa to think about as well as an upcoming offseason that will include unrestricted free agents such as Philip Rivers, Hunter Henry and Mike Pouncey.
On top of that, Gordon just hasn’t earned that kind of money. Sure, he can be an electric player, but he can just about as often be an unavailable player. In four seasons, he has missed nine games. Now, that may seem a tad harsh to hold against him, but consider the fact that he is making this kind of demand and threatening a holdout during what could be a championship season for the team?
Can’t it wait a little bit?
Obviously, he is being advised by someone, likely his agent, to push for a new deal now. But does Tom Telesco really seem like the kind of guy who is going to cave in that easily? He’ll look at a few of these facts:
- Gordon has missed nine games due to injury
- The team has received decent production out of its backups in his place
- Paying Gordon now could strap the team at some point in the future
Would it be nice to pay every player on the roster as much money as they felt they were worth? Of course, but the NFL doesn’t work that way. There is something called a salary cap.
The Chargers have Austin Ekeler, who is productive even when Gordon is healthy. Justin Jackson averaged nearly eight yards per carry against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season and scored a touchdown in a game in which Gordon couldn’t play. Even Kenneth Farrow, who is no longer with the team, had his moments filling in for Gordon.
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This isn’t to slight Gordon, but his demands force you to look at some cold hard facts.
The Chargers are a better team with Gordon than they are without. But him asking for an extension and threatening to hold out if he doesn’t get it come at a time when the team is preparing for training camp and trying to put together a 53-man group with what is one of the most talented rosters in football.
He would be best served to play out the final year of his deal and prove that he’s worth the kind of money he’s asking for while helping the Chargers win the championship that many feel the team can win. Unless of course, he doesn’t want to be a part of that or a new deal is more important than the accomplishments of the team.
If that’s the case, just cut bait with him now.