NFL free agency 2020: Chargers’ Melvin Gordon expected to test the market, per report

It’s been a roller coaster calendar year for running back Melvin Gordon. He entered the 2019 offseason on a mission to secure a long-term contract extension with the Los Angeles Chargers, but not even a holdout that lasted through Week 4 of the regular season was enough for the club to open up their wallets. Now Gordon, 26, is expected to test the market when he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent on March 18, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson

This does appear to be a change in the narrative from we’ve seen from Gordon over the past few months. Throughout the early parts of the offseason, Gordon repeated stated that he expects to be back with the Chargers in 2020 and made his feeling known that Los Angeles was where he wanted to be. Now there seems to have been a change of heart. Whether that is due to the Chargers’ desire to move on from him or Gordon simply looking for a new opportunity is up for interpretation. The fact that Los Angeles didn’t want to shell out some dough for him last offseason, however, makes one wonder if they still feel the same way, especially after the emergence of fellow running back Austin Ekeler. 

While Gordon was holding out, it opened the door for Ekeler to prove that he can be a more than capable replacement. He finished a stellar 2019 campaign with 1,550 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns. Ekeler was particularly lethal in the passing game, catching over 85% of his targets (92 receptions) for 993 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. With Ekeler set to be a restricted free agent, the Chargers could look to lock him up over Gordon and make him the featured weapon out of the backfield going forward. 

In the 12 games that Gordon played, he was primarily used as a pure runner, totaling 612 yards on the ground on a 3.8 yards per carry average with eight touchdowns. He did, however, catch 42 balls the passing game. Gordon shouldn’t be spoken about in the same breath as fellow free agent running back Derrick Henry, but he’s certainly in that second tier, which is nothing to scoff at. 

Spotrac projects that he could see a four-year contract that pays him an average annual salary of around $11.7 million, which would put him well inside the top 10 for running back salaries. 

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