Somewhere, the continuous Sunday Splash! mandate will cause someone to take some aspect of the Melvin Gordon holdout and massage it into news. Sometimes, no news is the only news that can be squeezed out of a lingering situation.
For the Chargers running back, the only news this Sunday is that he’s still holding out. That he’s still giving up weekly checks in excess of $329,000. And that he’s still not planning to skip the full season, because he’s still under contract to the Chargers for 2019.
It’s still not, and never was, a Le'Veon Bell situation, because Bell was unsigned and subject to a quirk of the labor deal that allowed him to sit out the entirety of the second application of the franchise tag and put the Steelers in checkmate as to what would have been Year Three of the tag.
It’s still not, and never was, a situation where Gordon must show up by the Tuesday after Week 10 or within 30 days before the end of the regular season. He’s still required by rule (as refined by Joey Galloway’s grievance from a generation ago) to be on the roster for at least eight games to easily satisfy the final year of his contract and become a free agent in 2020. (As explained five years ago when outling the very strategy that Gordon is deploying, a player could try to apply the Galloway grievance to the extreme of its reasoning, showing up for only one game and hoping that the inevitable grievance will go his way.)
When Gordon recently said he’s “going to play somewhere” this year, it means he’s likely going to show up for the Chargers in time to get those eight games, because barring a dramatic and unexpected development, no one will be trading for him. It also means that he’ll report in time to ensure that, even if the Chargers use a roster exemption for a full three weeks in order to get him in shape, he’ll still be on the roster for eight games.
Which means that, given the team’s Week 12 bye, Gordon needs to show up after Week Five and before Week Six, since a three-week roster exemption would expire before Week Nine and make him eligible for eight games on the active roster, which would make him a free agent in 2020.
So maybe that’s the Sunday Splash! that someone will generate at some point this morning, in breathless fashion: “I’m told Melvin Gordon is expected to report to the Chargers after the Week Five game against the Broncos, per source.”
And then maybe someone else will report the same thing within five minutes.
And then maybe someone else will tweet out a rat emoji.