Star running back Melvin Gordon wants a new contract, and if not, he wants the Chargers to trade him, his agent Fletcher Smith told ESPN. An extension for Gordon, who has been a huge part of LA’s offense with 38 touchdowns in the past three seasons, is probably the most likely outcome; but other teams should certainly be interested in seeing what it’d take to acquire the 26-year-old workhorse.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 second-round pick Ronald Jones needs more opportunities to prove himself and should not be given up on after one season, and Peyton Barber is a solid, trustworthy back—the new Buccaneers coaching staff has praised them both this offseason. However, Gordon has the all-around skillset that head coach Bruce Arians would love to utilize at the position, and his presence would help set up play-action deep shots from Jameis Winston to Mike Evans and company. Gordon might not be quite on the level of David Johnson (whom Arians had in Arizona) as a receiver, but he’s clearly among the league’s most capable receivers out of the backfield.
Future Hall of Fame running back Frank Gore was signed during free agency and FAU running back Devin Singletary was drafted in the third-round of this year’s draft, but I could see Bills general manager Brandon Beane believing Gordon could help take Buffalo’s offense to another level. Gordon is one of the most physical runners in football, and that toughness is a perfect fit for the Bills. Also, Beane has done a lot to upgrade the offense around franchise quarterback Josh Allen, so adding Gordon could be the final piece of the puzzle for a unit that could surprise a lot of people in 2019. The Bills can get out of LeSean McCoy’s contract with little cap hit, and Gordon is undoubtedly an upgrade at this point in McCoy’s career.
The Texans are probably the most-set team at running back among these potential trade partners, as Lamar Miller has been a solid starter for Houston the last three seasons, while D’Onta Foreman should be more explosive another year after his 2017 Achilles tear. However, the Texans might feel this is their year to go for it all during J.J. Watt’s age-30 season. The Texans have all seven of their 2020 draft picks to offer the Chargers, and they have plenty of cap space for Gordon with Deshaun Watson on his rookie contract.
If the Dolphins are indeed tanking (for as much as you can tank in the NFL), then acquiring a player of Gordon’s caliber might not seem like a great idea. But Miami might see the 26-year-old as a tone-setter for new head coach Brian Flores, and Gordon can be the offensive centerpiece in 2020, 2021, and beyond when the team is expected to be more competitive. The Dolphins’ interest might come down to how they feel about second-year running back Kalen Ballage, as Kenyan Drake could smoothly slide into a secondary role as an electric playmaker behind Gordon.
Gordon is an excellent player, but it’s difficult to see other teams having much interest in acquiring him as things stand. However, injuries are unfortunately a near-lock to occur to starting running backs or key committee members this summer, so more teams could quickly become interesting in the coming weeks.