When Los Angeles Chargers star running back Melvin Gordon announced that he’d be holding out of training camp until he’s given a new contract, it started a series of debates and disagreements. Topics such as the value of running backs, how easily it is to replace starters, and whether or not the Chargers should give Gordon his payday were immediately brought up.
One potential outcome of Gordon’s situation is a different team stepping in and trading for him. If a team were to make that exchange, they’d do so with the knowledge that Gordon is searching for a new deal. They would need a roster and cap space structure that allows for a move of that magnitude.
I detailed three teams that could be in position to acquire and extend Melvin Gordon, if the Chargers would be open to a trade.
Houston has made the playoffs in three of the past 4 seasons, but have failed to advance past to the Divisional Round. While they have some of the best top-end talent in the league, something is obviously missing from this squad. That little “something extra” could be an upgrade at the running back position.
Starting running back Lamar Miller is now 28 years old, in the final year of his contract and has more than 1,100 carries over the past five seasons. On top of that, his 4.09 yards per carry during his Houston tenure hasn’t moved the needle in a positive way. Behind Lamar Miller, backup D’Onta Foreman hasn’t shown any semblance of being an NFL-caliber starter.
As previously stated, the acquisition of Melvin Gordon likely means a new contract, and Houston has over $80 million in projected cap space next season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are safely in rebuilding mode, and this team needs to show improvement for the sake of the front office. While they selected Ronald Jones in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, he had a disaster rookie season. There are reports that Jones is looking healthier, thicker and ready for an improved sophomore year, but Melvin Gordon is a known commodity.
Gordon’s presence could immediately give the Buccaneers a dynamic running game to pair with some exciting young pass catching options.
With over $60 million in cap space heading into next season, the Bucs are in a position to make the aggressive move of acquiring Melvin Gordon, and adding some much needed talent to an otherwise middling roster.
Atlanta is just two seasons removed from a Super Bowl appearance, and the core of that team still remains on their roster. In that sense, they’re still contenders despite an up and down 2018 that was scarred by defensive injuries.
The Falcons were at their best when they had a two-headed monster in their backfield with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Freeman is still around, but coming off a season where he only played in two games due to a combination of knee, foot and groin injuries. Atlanta drafted Ito Smith in the fourth round of 2018, but he fits best as a change of pace back. The addition of Gordon would bring Atlanta a lot closer to the quality of backfield that they had back in 2017.
After Atlanta’s extension of Grady Jarrett, they’re closing in on the 2019 cap limit, but some of that opens up next year. There could be a way to trade for and extend Gordon depending on the structure of the contract.