Melvin Gordon Rumors: Chargers Give RB Permission to Seek Trade Amid Holdout

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2019

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) runs the ball against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Oakland, CA. The Chargers won 20-6. (Daniel Gluskoter/AP Images for Panini)
Daniel Gluskoter/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Chargers reportedly gave running back Melvin Gordon III's representatives permission to seek a trade Saturday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Gordon has held out throughout training camp and the preseason in search of a new contract. The 26-year-old running back is scheduled to make $5.6 million in 2019, which is the final year of his rookie deal.

Rapoport reported Aug. 21 that Gordon's holdout was expected to last into the 2019 regular season unless the Chargers move him.

Gordon, who has been working out in Florida, told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler this month that he was "just waiting on the call" from the Chargers.

While L.A. reportedly showed no interest in trading Gordon initially, the reported softening of the team's stance suggests the sides aren't close to a contract agreement.

Gordon is a two-time Pro Bowler who enjoyed arguably the best season of his career in 2018. Although injuries limited him to 12 games, he rushed for 885 yards on a career-best 5.1 yards per carry to go with 10 touchdowns on the ground. Gordon made 50 catches for 490 yards and four scores as well.

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Although Gordon has been productive for the Bolts since they selected him 15th in the 2015 NFL draft out of Wisconsin, there were questions about him as a runner before 2018, as he had never averaged better than 3.9 yards per tote in a season.

Gordon is dangerous in short-yardage situations and as a pass-catcher, plus he has scored at least 12 touchdowns in each of the past three years.

If the Chargers trade Gordon, it would open the door for Austin Ekeler to be the No. 1 running back.

The 24-year-old Ekeler was a big part of L.A.'s offense last season as Gordon's backup. He totaled 958 yards from scrimmage and scored six times. It is unclear if he has the tools needed to be a bell-cow back, however.

Among other running backs on the roster, 2018 seventh-round pick Justin Jackson would likely have the biggest role beyond Ekeler. He rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns on 50 carries as a rookie.

If a trade happens, expect the Chargers to explore the free-agent market as well, especially after the Buffalo Bills released six-time Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy on Saturday.


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