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Report: Melvin Gordon, Chargers Nearly $3M Apart Annually on Contract Talks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2019

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon stands on the field during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Chargers and running back Melvin Gordon remain at a stalemate as Gordon continues his holdout this offseason.

Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson reported Gordon is looking for a contract that will net him almost $13 million annually, while the Chargers are standing firm with an offer that would pay him nearly $10 million a year.

Robinson's piece centered on the consequences of Todd Gurley's four-year, $57.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Rams. Although Gurley was an All-Pro for the second time in 2018, there are fears about his long-term value after his trainer revealed he has an "arthritic component to his knee."

As a result, teams are wary of paying top dollar for young running backs, while those same running backs—including Gordon—are looking to Gurley's deal as a framework for their own extensions, per Robinson:

"How does Gurley factor into that Gordon negotiation? In theory, Gurley's deal slots [David] Johnson as the next tier in running backs. Which means 'unicorn' backs like Gurley are $14 million to $15 million per-season players, while the next echelon of backs like Johnson (and in theory, Gordon), should fall into the $13 million range."

In terms of average salary, Gurley ($14.3 million) leads all running backs, per Spotrac. Were he to get his wish and sign for $13 million per year, Gordon would tie Johnson as the third-highest-paid at the position.

While Gordon's demands aren't unreasonable, he will struggle to get that kind of money from the Chargers or another team.

Le'Veon Bell is only a year older and has a far better resume, yet he was met with a lukewarm market in free agency this offseason before signing a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets.

Gordon has played a full season once since the Chargers selected him 15th overall in the 2015 NFL draft. In addition to the general longevity concerns inherent with the running back position, Gordon's injury history won't help his leverage at the negotiating table.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Gordon is unlikely to end his holdout anytime soon and that the situation could drag on into the regular season.

Bell sat out an entire year and ultimately settled for less money than he would have earned if he had accepted the Pittsburgh Steelers' final offer in 2018. Maybe Gordon is willing to show similar resolve, but the Chargers are arguably in a position of strength to call his bluff.

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