Melvin Gordon: You can’t just replace a great back

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Melvin Gordon isn’t in the same position that Le'Veon Bell was. Gordon is under contract. Bell wasn’t, refusing to sign the franchise tag.

So while Bell could afford to sit out all season, Gordon can’t. He has to show up by the Tuesday after Week 10 to get credit for the year.

Bell likely didn’t get as much as he hoped he would in signing a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets this offseason, though it ranks him second in average annual salary behind Todd Gurley. Still, running backs as a group want more, wondering aloud why they have been devalued.

The problem for running backs is most are replaceable.

In Bell’s absence, James Conner had 1,470 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns and the Steelers went 8-4-1 in the 13 games he played. C.J. Anderson arrived in Los Angeles off his couch and had 316 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns for the Rams in the two games Gurley missed last season, with the Rams winning both.

The Chargers even won the four games Gordon missed last season.

Gordon, though, pointed to Ezekiel Elliott‘s absence in 2017 for the Cowboys. Dallas went 3-3 without their star running back and missed the playoffs that season. The Cowboys are 28-12 in the regular season with Elliott, who also seeks a new deal.

“Clearly, you seen what happened when Zeke was out. It was a completely different team,” Gordon said Saturday at SportsCon 2019 in Dallas. “You can replace average backs. Yeah, just plug them in. But a great back? You can’t just replace a great back. People think you can do that. You can’t. It will be a difference. It will be a difference, man. We do so much for people to even try to devalue us. We block. We’ve got to run the ball. We’ve got to pick up protections. We have to catch the ball. We have to do what receivers do. We have to do our thing. We have so much that goes through us.

“I tell people the hardest position outside of quarterback. . . .That’s the only position [that’s harder] because you have to know so much. Outside of that, running back is the next hardest position on the field, and we should get paid as such.”

Gordon’s representation informed the Chargers the running back won’t show up to training camp without a new deal, and he said Saturday he’s “prepared to do what I need to do.”

Now, it’s up to the Chargers to decide how much they value Gordon and at what price.

42 responses to “Melvin Gordon: You can’t just replace a great back

  1. This guy is delusional. On what planet is he a great back?

    Comparing himself to Elliott is ridiculous. The Cowboys rely on the Elliott. Phillip Rivers is the engine that moves the Chargers – not Gordon.

  2. Dak depends on Zeke. Rivers hasn’t depended on a back since LaDainian left town. HoF great LaDainian Tomlinson. Gordon is delusional.

  3. They went into KC and won without him this past season and he has missed plenty of games over the last few years. I don’t know why a few weeks before training camp he is just bringing this up. They had all offseason to discuss a contract

  4. Gordon is right u can’t replace a great back an it’s much to early to point to the Connors to prove your point here he hasn’t had such a season on regular bases (see) Timmy Smith

  5. I don’t know about that Melvin. So much of RB is about instincts and athleticism. It’s why rookie RB’s come in and dominate early in their career. Compare that to WR’s who are usually lost for the first year or two. How about any O-Line spot. There’s a reason why intelligence is valued so highly in O-lineman, not to mention that they line up against the most athletic big men in the world. I’d have to say that RB is the easiest spot on the offence to just plug in and play.

  6. 18th best back in the league last year being paid right now as the 12th highest salary for a RB.

  7. Let him sit and earn 0. He’s way overrating himself.
    It’s in his best interest to play and have a great year and walk.
    Sitting out a year and making 0 doesn’t help him.

  8. I understand where he’s coming from when you look at the production he’s been able to achieve versus the compensation he’s receiving. Yes, he’ll make a little over 5.5 million next year (if he plays), but over the course of his contract he’ll make between Rex Burkhead and Rashad Penny money…not even one of the top 20 compensated RBs in the league.

  9. True, Zeke is a great RB and he can’t be easily replaced, but that doesn’t mean you are…

    Zeke has ZERO seasons under 4.0 yards per carry (with an above average QB at best), Melvin Gordon only has one season above 4.0 yards per carry and three seasons below it, while one of the best QBs in the game has probably been taking some pressure off of him.

    I like Gordon and he’s a very good RB, I just feel like him and/or his agent might be over valuing his market right now looking at those 13+ million per year contracts that have been signed in the last two years by Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson. When he (in my opinion) is just not in that level tier

    And it drops off hugely after that with only three vets in between $8.25 and $7.5 million per year… the rest of the top are all rookies contracts.

    He should play the pay me now card, but his word choices just sound like he’s ready to overplay it… thinking he’s in that elite group and he’s ready to try to pull off what Bell did.

  10. Love MG but he’s wrong on this one. Teams replace great backs all the time just ask LeVeon Bell! But with that said the Chargers should chip him off a nice piece of change

  11. Gordon is better than an average back. He is a good back. But, he is not a great back.

  12. First of all, Melvin, it would be a tough sell to say you’re a great back. Ladanian Tomlinson was a great back. You’re not anywhere near LT’s level.

    And second of all, while great backs are hard to find, you can get much better value out of a set of fresh young legs. Running back is a position where the drop off isn’t huge. And certainly not worth throwing a ton of money at.

  13. Police officers and teachers have extremely important and hard jobs. But it’s not importance or difficulty that drives the salary, it’s supply and demand.

  14. Looks like there’s a trade market for RBs now. If I were a backup RB somewhere, I’d be getting into the best shape that I could because I could be traded to the Chargers. If I impress, then I take Gordon’s job.

  15. Wow did he tear up after his rant? The league goes in cycles and right now it’s a lot more about the passing game and having a rotation of backs. The days of having 1 running back and having him run for 150 yards every game is most likely over. You’re under contract so go play football or dont quit crying.

  16. Yeah… But you are not Zeke, Melvin. A Great RB is replaceable these days. I hope for the Chargers they call his bluff. Let him sit out, he is not as valuable as he thinks.

  17. This guy can’t keep quiet. If the Chargers cut off contact with this guy he will be back in a week.

  18. His argument is a bit convoluted. His argument centers only on Zeke’s impact on his team , ignoring the other scenarios mentioned (Bell/Conner, Gurley/Anderson).

    Gordon is an average/at times above average back at best, but injury prone and replaceable. The Chargers should let him sit out and just move on.

  19. He’s right that they won’t be as good without the star running back but the drop off is usually minimal where as other positions like qb, lt, true #1 receiver the drop impacts the game a lot more.

  20. The Chiefs replaces Kareem Hunt with Damien Williams pretty seamlessly…. However, God do I hope the Chargers overpay him and have to let some of that young talent on Defense walk when they come due

  21. These guys are idiots ..RB are a dime a dozen..Bill gets one every year ..get over yourself

  22. Average running backs are replaceable. Great backs are like “Queens” on a chessboard. Game is much easier with them playing.

    Too many casual fans who have NEVER played a single football game have ZERO idea how important the run game is to an offence and a QB. Stick to your Fantasy League and talking sh!t to your 5 year old.

    A healthy Todd Gurley last year and Rams win the SB. A great RB keeps the front 7 (and a Safety) honest and is the security blanket when a QB goes through his progression tree. Defenses hate to be run on – it wears them out and allows the QB easier passes. Ever been in a fist fight? That’s what it’s like to have a RB run downhill on you.

    So please stop acting like this “passing” league isn’t built on the foundation of a good running game and great backs. Last time I checked New England has gone like 14-6 with 3 different QB’s during Brady’s absence. Does that mean QB is replaceable too?

  23. Rams went to a ground and pound attack with Anderson, as opposed to the high flying pass game they had with Gurley. Steelers had to ride Ben’s arm to 5000+ passing yards. Those offenses just weren’t as balanced. Even when the replacements put up good numbers, defenses don’t respect them as much.

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