Melvin Gordon wants a contract. The Los Angeles Chargers running back is preparing to carry out and demand a trade if he does not get one shortly.
Gordon informed the Chargers that unless he receives a new contract, he will demand a trade and will not report to training camp,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.
ESPN first reported the news.
Chargers veterans report to training camp on July 24.
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Gordon will be subject to penalties of up to $40,000 for each day missed if he does not report, per the collective bargaining agreement.
Damarius Bilbo, among those agents who repetitions Gordon, told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport the running back is serious about holding out.
“He is very serious,” Bilbo said. “He has worked his butt off and also the fifth-year option is a consequence of where he had been drafted. It’s exactly what it is. But if we had gotten a respectable deal, we wouldn’t be here. However he felt disrespected. He’s very serious.”
Gordon is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, set to earn $5.6 million. He needs the safety that comes with guaranteed cash on a long-term deal. His 2019 salary is the 11th highest among running backs for this year. The 26-year-old probably looks at the list and sees a whole lot of backs used significantly less than himself and who are not as vital to a team’s offensive performance getting paid more.
“We obtained an offer — discussions had been dead — we obtained an offer that was not a fair deal based on which Melvin has done, at which he was drafted, and the way he’s performed, making two of the past four Pro Bowls,” Bilbo said. “It was disrespectful.”
The Chargers told NFL Media they have no comment on the matter.
The do-it-all back was a keystone piece of the Chargers offense since his second year at the league, compiling more than 1,300 scrimmage yards each of the past 3 seasons, together with 38 total touchdowns. Gordon proved his value to the L.A. offense last season whilst handling knee issues. The Chargers offense was not the same with no bruising back at full threat-level.
The 2015 first-round pick skipped all the offseason workouts, but attended mandatory minicamp in June, in which he said”I don’t understand,” when asked when he’d hold out of training camp without a new contract.
It is possible a holdout could extend to the regular season.
“We will cross that bridge once we arrive,” Bilbo informed Rapoport when asked when he would sit out regular-season games. “If Melvin isn’t paid fairly, he’ll wish to be traded.”
It is likely the situation across city using Todd Gurley’s knee could provide the Chargers pause to pay Gordon. The Rams handed Gurley a pile of money and now are dealing with a spine that could have chronic knee difficulties. Given Gordon’s injury history, the Chargers might be reticent to hand back a slew of guarantees.
Gordon addressed these concerns during June minicamp:
“It is an issue with everyone else,” Gordon explained. “However, I know my value. I understand what I bring to the group, and I’m sticking with that. Todd’s paid, therefore Todd don’t care what anyone says right now — him or David Johnson — they can say what they would like to say. They signed the dotted line.
“But sadly I haven’t yet, so I have to take the heat for some of the things that they’re going through. But I am not them, and like I said, I know my value”
The dual-threat back understands his value. He’s prepared to hold out and demand a trade to somebody who will compensate him as such, if the Chargers won’t.
Perhaps not having Gordon are a huge setback to the L.A. offense, one that looks poised to compete for a deep playoff run. But paying running backs in 2019 could be a precarious proposition for NFL teams.
Gordon’s sole leverage to get the deal he desires is to withhold his services. The running back is preparing to do so.
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