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NFL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott Contracts and More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 21, 2019

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 22:  Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs on a pass play during the second half of a game against the Baltimore Ravens at StubHub Center on December 22, 2018 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

As the start of the NFL regular season draws closer, running backs Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott and offensive tackle Trent Williams are still not with their teams at training camp. 

Gordon and Elliott are trying to get new deals from the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys, respectively, but they have not had any success in negotiations yet. 

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., Williams is not expected at the Redskins camp anytime soon, and despite the frustration coming from the offensive lineman, the franchise is reportedly not willing to ship him elsewhere. 

                     

Latest NFL Rumors

Melvin Gordon

Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

According to ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler, the Chargers and Gordon are "millions apart in negotiations" when it comes to a potential new deal.

Gordon told Fowler he is "just waiting on a call" from the franchise regarding a return to the team's practices. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter recently reported the 26-year-old is "prepared to sit out" if he is unable to come to terms with the AFC West team. 

Gordon is scheduled to make $5.6 million on the final stage of his five-year rookie deal, which is an increase from what he has earned over the first four seasons of his professional career. 

The Wisconsin product is coming off a season in which he picked up 885 yards on the ground and a career-high 490 yards in the passing game. 

In each of the last three campaigns, Gordon produced at least 800 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards on over 200 touches. 

In 2018, he ranked behind Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley in most combined touchdowns by a running back and finished ninth in rushing yards per game. 

Gordon can make a compelling case for a raise because of his consistent production and the current market for players at his position. 

Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell and David Johnson all make over $13 million per year. Bell and Johnson signed their deals at ages 27 and 26, respectively, which could be another sticking point for Gordon. 

The counterargument to any running back receiving a massive pay day is the short career some at the position have in the NFL. 

Relying on a running back to put up high numbers into his 30s is a risky strategy, which is one of the reasons why only three players make eight figures at the position.

In the worst-case scenario for all parties in which Gordon does not play, the Chargers will call on Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson to carry the load next to Philip Rivers in the backfield. 

Ekeler was a solid backup option to Gordon in 2018, as he picked up 554 rushing and 404 receiving yards, while Jackson had 341 total yards in limited action. 

              

Ezekiel Elliott

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Elliott can make a stronger case than Gordon for an uptick in salary.

The 24-year-old earned the NFL rushing title in 2018 with 1,434 yards, and he was the most consistent tailback with a league-high 95.6 rushing yards per contest. 

The two-time 1,000-yard rusher is slated to make $3.8 million for the 2019 campaign with an increase to over $9 million coming in 2020. 

Although Elliott has been away from the Cowboys, he is in shape to play whenever he comes to an agreement with them, as Schefter noted the running back's weight is in the low 220s and he "will be all ready to go" when he returns. 

Discussions between Elliott and the Cowboys do not appear to be in great shape, with his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, telling ESPN's Chris Mortensen that the running back felt disrespected by the comments of Dallas owner Jerry Jones. 

Jones attempted to diffuse the situation after his "Zeke Who?" comment Tuesday, per the team's official website

"I've earned the right to joke with Zeke. Let me be real clear about that," he said. "I've earned the right to joke with Zeke." 

Meanwhile, Dallas head coach Jason Garrett told The Athletic's Jon Machota that his conversations with Elliott remain strong. 

The player's production while in a Dallas uniform and his young age make him worthy of a long-term deal that puts him in the upper echelon of running back salary figures. 

However, Dallas can make the argument Elliott is already set for a pay increase in 2020 and $9 million still puts him in the top tier of running backs. 

Unlike Los Angeles, Dallas is not in great shape beneath its star tailback on the depth chart with rookies Tony Pollard and Mike Weber currently earning the bulk of carries in preseason. 

Going into Week 1 with two untested running backs would not be in Dallas' favor, so it is imperative to find common ground with Elliott before the first week of September. 

                                

Trent Williams

Washington head coach Jay Gruden was unable to provide a positive update on Williams' absence from camp Monday, per NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay

"There are no updates whatsoever," Gruden said.

Schefter previously reported the Redskins were not looking into making a deal to send the offensive tackle to another franchise. ESPN's Jenna Laine pointed out that the Miami Dolphins had interest in the seven-time Pro Bowler. 

Williams' absence from camp stems from a missed diagnosis on his scalp, and his frustration with the team's medical staff has overflowed into training camp. 

Washington was already in some trouble offensively entering preseason with Alex Smith and Colt McCoy recovering from long-term leg injuries. 

With either Case Keenum or Dwayne Haskins starting Week 1, the Redskins need as much protection as possible so either quarterback can feel comfortable in the pocket in a new system. 

Replacing the impact of Williams is one of the most difficult tasks any team in the NFL has at the moment because of the high level he has played at since entering the NFL in 2010.

Of course, there is going to be a drop off between Williams and second-year man Geron Christian. Even if three-time Pro Bowl selection Donald Penn adapts well to the offense, he is still 36 and at the back end of his career compared to the 31-year-old Williams. 

With Williams not returning and the Redskins failing to budge on any potential trade, the NFC East side is heading toward the worst-case scenario. 

If they can't get any type of return for an unsatisfied player and struggle to replace his production, the Redskins could be at a disadvantage right away. 

                                            

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.

Contract information obtained from Spotrac.