Melvin Gordon holdout gets more and more expensive

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Players who have leverage should use it, up to and including holding out in order to get their best possible financial arrangements. But players also should be careful not to overplay their hand, and that continues to be what Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is doing.

He has missed all of training camp, subjecting him to daily fines of $30,000 per day. And yes, it’s only $30,000 per day for him (not $40,000), one of the quirks of the fifth-year option.

But the other quirk of the fifth-year option is that, for every preseason game he misses, Gordon can be fined the full amount of a regular-season game check. At a fifth-year salary of $5.605 million, that’s more than $329,000 for the Week One preseason game, $329,000 for the next one, and a potential total fine of $1.316 million if he misses all four of them.

Meanwhile, the Chargers aren’t budging. Why should they? Gordon isn’t Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley or Christian McCaffrey, currently (in my view) the three superstar tailbacks in the NFL. For the Chargers, it makes far more sense to move on with what they have, as quarterback Philip Rivers had said (even if he shouldn’t have said it) than to give Gordon a market-value contract.

That same thinking applies to the other 31 teams, or someone would have tried to trade for Gordon by now. That’s not going to happen, because a new team would have to pay him more than his skill and his position justify, and a new team would have to give the Chargers something better than the third-round compensatory pick they stand to get in 2021 if Gordon leaves via free agency in 2020.

As previously explained, sitting out the full year won’t help Gordon like it helped Le’Veon Bell, because it won’t make Gordon a free agent. Gordon’s contract would toll into next year, and he’d be in the same position that he is now.

In 2012, then-Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew held out for all of training camp and the preseason, before blinking. The sooner Gordon blinks, the lower the bill will be when he finally walks through the door.

23 responses to “Melvin Gordon holdout gets more and more expensive

  1. Gordon is being advised by the same genius that advised Leveon Bell.
    He’s ok but not a star, I’d fine him to the maximum, because the first few games he won’t be in football shape anyway.

  2. The Chargers will not be that good this year. They also have trouble with NFC teams that can run the ball well. This will be exposed this year also. Rivers has real trouble with NFC North teams.

  3. At just over 900 yards/season (4.0 yds/carry), this player is not much more than “just a guy”.

    Heck, Dion Lewis holds a 4.3 average bouncing around Phil, NE and Tenn.

  4. “As previously explained, sitting out the full year won’t help Gordon like it helped Le’Veon Bell…”

    It didn’t help Bell either. He lost money by sitting out.

  5. I’d make an example of him and fine him to the maximum, because the first few games he won’t be in football shape anyway. He’s no star like LeVeon Bell, he has no leverage.
    Teams need to stand up for themselves or other players will do the same thing.

  6. The contracts should be fully guaranteed. Factor in the injury risks with playing football and there’s no reason for the contracts to not be fully guaranteed. Also, anybody who thinks Le’Veon lost needs to take a simple course on economics.

  7. I’m not going to argue against the logic of paying running backs in the current CBA system.

    But I will argue against that system and how it screws over RBs. The average NFL career is around 3.5 years, so it’s ridiculous that first round picks are locked into below-market rookie wages for 5 seasons, THEN subject to 2 straight franchise tags, THEN are able to hit the open market (at 28-29 years old). The “honor your contract” notion is nonsense too since Gordon was unable to negotiate the length or value of his rookie contract in the first place. Some contract.

    4 seasons is plenty to determine whether a guy is worthy of a big money second contract. I think Saquan Barkley would get $15+ million per season from almost any team if he were on the open market right now (after 1 year!) but he’s still got 4 more cheap seasons to go before the franchise tag dance starts. That’s just overkill and causing these guys to hold out which sucks for us fans.

  8. gotitan says:
    August 14, 2019 at 6:27 am
    I think players should honor their contracts.


    Then you should also think owners should honor the contract and never cut a player…but it doesn’t work that way.

  9. Gordon has a lot of miles on those legs. He had a ton of carries in college before he got to the NFL. I can understand him trying to cash in because this will likely be his only “big” contract. It is also a business and every player is at risk for injury. The problem is he isn’t a top-tier RB like Elliot, Barkley, McCaffrey, or Gurley(who has an extensive injury history of his own). I don’t see the leverage here, especially with Eckler filling in well for him last season. In this case he should go to work and let the details work themselves out.

  10. gotitan says:
    August 14, 2019 at 6:27 am
    I think players should honor their contracts.


    But isn’t he? I mean the contract stipulates that if he misses time he has to pay fines. As long as he’s paying the fines he’s honoring the contract.

  11. For everyone ragging on the guy, calling him mediocre….you do realize there’s only one position player who has scored more than Gordon over the past 3 years (Gurley), and no RB ran better against stacked 8 man fronts last year (according to PFF). He’s an excellent RB. The Chargers are better with him in their backfield. Saying otherwise is silly. Does he deserve a massive raise? Prob not as high as he’s hoping for, but the dude is still very valuable to that team.

    As for the guy waxing prophetic about the Chargers struggles against NFC North teams doing them in? What are you even talking about? They last played the NFC North in 2016…what does that have to do with anything? Lol.

  12. Why is everyone ragging on the guy as some sort of mediocre back? Lol. There is literally 1 position player in the NFL that has scored more over the last 3 years (Gurley)…Gordon is #2. He also ran against 8 man fronts better than any RB last year (according to PFF). The Chargers are better with him in their backfield, period. Is he worth what he’s asking for? Prob not, but a raise isn’t out of the question.

    As for the crazy person reasoning that the Chargers will suck this year because of their NFC North troubles in the past? What the? Lol. Based on the last time they played NFC North teams in 2015-16? Super relevant! The Chargers sucked against everyone that year en route to a 4-12 record. Lol.

  13. The players agreed to the CBA they are working under at this time. Keep that in mind next time you vote on a new CBA. If I remember correctly the big gripe before was players out of college were getting multi- million dollar contracts before playing a down and the established players didn’t think that was fair so they agreed to the rookie contract structure. As the saying goes, “You can’t have your cake and eat it to.”

  14. And you don’t view Alvin Kamara in the same breath as Barkley, McCaffrey and Elliot?

  15. Gordon is getting bad and costly advice. $5 million isn’t chump change and if he plays well he’ll get more next year. Gordon is a “good” rotational back. On the other hand, Spanos is stingy and his promise to Rivers that a new contract will happen, has so far, been another lie. The LA Chargers disastrous business move has cost Spanos dearly.

  16. NFLTHENEWWWE….The thing is, the players getting screwed now by the CBA aren’t the players who agreed to it.

  17. If it hadn’t been the GM for the Jets bidding against himself Bell would of got far less than he did.. what’s sad is Melvin is potentially going to get offered far less in the open market than the very fair offer he is getting now and going to another offensive situation that is much worse than he is in now. I’m not sure where he is getting such lame and borderline dangerous advice but this doesn’t end well for him if he really holds. He’s already on the wrong side of 25…

  18. The Chargers should rescind their current offer to him and resign themselves to moving on without Gordon. I would also not forgive the fines. If he’s going to take that chance then he should suffer for his poor choice. It’s not like he’s going to be there next year anyway so why should the Chargers do anything for him? I’d even make him inactive every game this year and get used to life without him–he’s only mediocre anyway. If he’s going to play hardball with the Chargers I can’t wait to hear him cry when the Chargers play hardball with him.

  19. Agree completely with the article. I would put Kamara in that same group with Barkley, Zeke and McCaffrey. Gordon scores touchdowns because he gets so many chances. He is literally an average running back that seems to be dinged up all the time. I’m pretty sure Ekeler can pick up the load and do quite nicely with it.

  20. fbfan-So what are you suggesting, anarchy? Just throw out the rules because they don’t fit your purpose. How about doing a new CBA every year. Life is not fair but they all know the rules going in.

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