Melvin Gordon is taking a stand.
The Chargers running back, entering the fifth year of his first-round rookie deal, has informed the Chargers that he won’t report for training camp without a new contract, and that he’ll demand a trade. Gordon’s agent, Fletcher Smith, informed ESPN of the situation.
Gordon is due to make $5.605 million this year. He has been eligible for a second contract since the completion of the 2017 season.
It’s wise for Gordon to force the issue; injury and age can quickly diminish a running back’s value. The problem becomes even more pronounced for running backs taken in round one, since the fifth-year option is available to be used against them.
In contrast, former Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell earned $12.1 million under the franchise tag in his fifth NFL season, because he wasn’t a first-round pick. Which highlights the value of not being a first-round pick — especially if the player isn’t taken in the top 10, which triggers a considerably higher fifth-year option salary.
Gordon has made $10.669 million during his first four NFL seasons. He has rushed for 3,628 yards in 51 career regular-season games. He has one 1,000-yard rushing season and 38 total touchdowns, rushing and receiving.