Much is being said about the ongoing saga between Melvin Gordon and the Los Angeles Chargers.
This is a story about one player taking on his employer in a David vs. Goliath type of tale. Unlike the popular biblical story though David is not the underdog in the typical sense. In this tale, David is the Chargers organization.
Although the Chargers do hold all of the cards, so to speak, at the bargaining table. It is also the Chargers that are facing a losing battle. The Chargers were never going to win this fight. It is because of this that David is being portrayed by the Chargers and Goliath by Gordon and his agent/PR campaign.
Typically when two parties engage in a negotiation the two parties actually negotiate. This however was never a negotiation. This is/was a hostage-taking scenario. Once Gordon informed the Chargers that he would be holding out he took the Chargers 2019 Super Bowl aspirations as his hostage. One could even argue, as I am, that Gordon never intended to negotiate.
Negotiations are typically defined as multiple parties reaching a compromise where neither party receives what it wants in full. For a negotiation to take place, both parties must be willing to sacrifice. Both parties must be willing to give in. Both parties must be realistic about what they want and what they consider a realistic outcome.
According to The Daily Caller the Chargers offered Gordon $10 million per season. That is a 40 percent raise that would have also made his pay representative of his production. According to Spotrac.com this would have made him the fifth highest-paid running back in the NFL for the 2019 season.
Gordon will not budge by any indication. He will not acknowledge facts. He will not negotiate as far as I can tell. He just continues to hold the Chargers hostage. Making them look bad and cheap. The Chargers are definitely a frugal organization but in this instance, they are right to stand firm.
Gordon is what he is at this stage in his career. He is a 4.0 yards per carry running back who does possess a knack for the end zone as evidenced by his 28 rushing touchdowns. He is a very good running back. Is he a top-tier running back worth Todd Gurley/Ezekiel Elliott money though? The answer to that question is a very loud and resounding NO. His production is just not there. Not to mention that Gordon is not exactly known for staying healthy.
This is not to say that I do not understand Melvin’s stance. Running back is a physically brutal position to play. He feels that what he brings to the table is worth more than $10 million per season.
He also recognizes that this is his one chance to cash in. Running backs do not typically see a second big money contract. Every season he plays on his current contract, every snap, he jeopardizes his financial future. Gordon is trying to secure his future while he can. I get it.
Gordon will get his payday. Some team will give him more than what the Chargers will offer. It is just the fact of this business. The Chargers are right to not overpay Gordon. But not because running backs don’t deserve more money.
The Chargers are right for two reasons. First, the Chargers have other contracts coming up. (Ever hear of Joey Bosa?) Bosa is going to demand a huge financial investment, but the Chargers have other contracts coming up as well including an extension for Philip Rivers that has yet to be worked out.
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Second, is the fact that a running backs production is actually pretty easy to replace. Needless to say, the Chargers just can not overpay Gordon no matter how badly they want a Super Bowl berth.
So here we sit with mere days to go until the 2019 NFL season kicks off. The Chargers fans are upset at the organization. Gordon is following other teams on social media. No negotiations are taking place.
The Chargers will enter the 2019 season without their star running back while Gordon takes shots at the organization he said he wanted to work for. The Chargers for their part in this losing fight will wear yet another black eye on an organization known as one of the worst in the NFL.
David will probably lose this round while Goliath will sit and wait for the phone to ring with the news that he wants, that somebody is desperate enough to overpay him.
Will it ring? That remains to be seen. Barring an unseen future event, this fight is over. David never stood a chance.