ONE of the most popular stories throughout the pre-season is quickly unravelling for Melvin Gordon. The L.A. Chargers’ running back has been holding out for a contract extension in the ballpark of $10mil annually, refusing to suit up until he gets his wish. Luckily for the Chargers, they’re well poised to still contend without Gordon, leaving the talented tailback stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not all hope is lost for Gordon though with some teams in a position to offer him a decent extension and propel their franchise forward in the process.
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THE Texans recently traded for Carlos Hyde to strengthen their backfield following Lamar Millar’s preseason ACL tear. However, with Houston clearly all-in on winning a championship while Deshaun Watson is on his rookie deal, they need to maximise the offensive weapons they have at their disposal. Hyde and another fresh face they traded for this offseason in Duke Johnson Jr are fine pieces in the depth chart, but a talented back who can force tacklers to miss like Gordon would give them a significant boost. Not only could Gordon be their lead back, but his elusiveness would force defenders to take more notice of him on the field, potentially opening up more passing avenues for Watson in play-action sets.
SIMILAR to Houston, the Eagles are right in the middle of their Super Bowl window and need to maximise their chances of winning a second crown in a short amount of time. The difficult part of acquiring Gordon comes down to his future salary, with Philadelphia only able to pay so many players. Carson Wentz’s extension kicks in next season while Jason Peters and Nelson Agholor will be looking for paydays of their own sooner rather than later. The good news is they still have enough financial flexibility to entertain the idea of trading for Gordon with running backs Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles both coming off the books next season. It makes sense to invest in a long-term solution to support rookie Miles Sanders and such a move might just tip the Eagles over the edge.
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San Fransisco 49ers
UNLIKE most of the other teams on this list, the San Fransisco 49ers aren’t in line to compete in the playoffs anytime soon. However, there’s no reason why they can’t retool their team on the fly and achieve greatness under Kyle Shanahan, especially if Melvin Gordon is part of the squad. Giving Jimmy Garapollo a running back that can be a threat in both the running and passing game would instantly improve their team and given the recent injuries woes to the RB room, a move for Gordon only makes that much more sense. After already giving up their 2020 second-rounder, the 49ers a seemingly stuck with the Chargers pushing for a first-round draft choice and San Fran likely trying to force the issue with their third-round selection. If they sweeten the deal slighlty we could see Gordon in 49ers’ colours before too long.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WE don’t want to assume after just one week of action, but the financial burden of extending Jameis Winston might no longer be a problem for the Bucs. Their offense is still respectable with the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard noteworthy starters, but they’re still missing a bonafide lead back. Enter Melvin Gordon. We saw how Bruce Arians utilised David Johnson back in 2016 when the Cardinals RB enjoyed the best season of his career and there’s no reason why Gordon couldn’t thrive in the 2019 edition of Arians offense. With only $3.5mil in projected cap space at the time of typing, the Buccaneers would have to get creative, but there’s still more pros than cons when it comes to a potential Gordon manoeuvre.
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Green Bay Packers
AARON Rodgers is 35 years old. Realistically, his best football is behind him and while Tom Brady is redefining what we though a QB can achieve later in their career, Rodgers’ days are clearly numbers. New head coach Matt LaFleur will be out to make his imprint instantly on this team and this offense and upgrading the personnel on their roster can accelerate the process of putting a winning product on the field. No offense to the likes of Aaron Jones and/or Jamaal Williams, but they could be pieces dangled in a potential trade to help secure Gordon from the Chargers and upgrade the running back position. If I was running the Packers I’d be calling L.A. to hash out a deal ASAP.
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