Melvin Gordon expects to be back with the Chargers in 2020: ‘Let’s get it going’

Philip Rivers is headed elsewhere once the new NFL league year begins and free agency kicks off, but Melvin Gordon is hoping his time with the Chargers is just getting started. Gordon, a two-time Pro Bowl running back who is slated to become a free agent on March 18, recently told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he wants to continue his career with the Chargers, who selected him with the 15th overall pick back in the 2015 NFL Draft. Gordon, who was hoping to get a contract extension last offseason, sat out the first month of the 2019 season.

“I expect to be back with the Chargers,” Gordon said, “but man, this business is so crazy, as I learned last year.”

After a tumultuous 2019 offseason that included a brief holdout, Gordon made it clear that he wants to remain with the team moving forward.

“Let’s get it going,” Gordon said with regard to his contract situation. “Let’s bring this ship to L.A., man, and stop playing.” 

While the Chargers, according to Over The Cap, currently have about $49 million in available salary cap space, and that number will rise (with the rest of the NFL) in the new league years, they will likely have to spend a considerable amount of money finding Rivers’ replacement at quarterback. And while they will likely throw their hat into the Tom Brady free agent ring, the Chargers could instead use the draft to find Rivers’ replacement. In fact, in his first 2020 mock draft, CBS Sports Pete Prisco has the Chargers using the sixth overall pick on Justin Herbert, who completed 66.8% of his passes with 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions during his final season at Oregon. 

If they go the rookie quarterback route, the Chargers would have considerably more money to pay Gordon, whose market value, according to Spotrac, is $46,853,596 over four years with an average salary of $11,713,300. While Gordon has proven to be one of the NFL’s most productive backs since entering the NFL, the Chargers may decide to mimic what the 49ers and Chiefs — this year’s Super Bowl participants — did with regard to their running back situation. While the Cowboys and Jets endured non-playoff seasons after paying Ezekiel Elliott and Le’Veon Bell large salaries, the Chiefs and 49ers won their respective conferences with starting running backs that cost less than $1 million annually.

When it comes to his playing ability, Gordon endured a rocky start to the 2019 season before he started putting up his typical numbers. Starting in Week 9, Gordon enjoyed a five-game run that saw him amass 526 total yards and four touchdowns. While his yards per carry dropped 1.3 yards from his 5.1 yard average in 2018, Gordon still managed to tally 908 all-purpose yards with nine touchdowns despite splitting time with Austin Ekeler, who led the team with eight touchdown receptions while also finishing second on the team in receptions (92) and receiving yards (993).

Speaking from Miami during Super Bowl week, Gordon revealed some of the dialect that’s taken place between him and Chargers general manager Tom Telesco. 

“I’ve talked to (Telesco) plenty of times,” Gordon said. “He tells me, ‘You deserve to get paid,’ but sometimes it just might not be the right situation.”

While it does not appear that he is trying to set the market for running backs on the open market, what is clear is Gordon’s desire to remain with the Chargers if the two sides can agree on a contract that is beneficial for both sides.

“I got a lot of guys that I’m close to (with the Chargers), and I would love to be close to them holding that Lombardi trophy,” Gordon said during Super Bowl week. “Hopefully, it’s here in L.A.”

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