Melvin Gordon has asked the Los Angeles Chargers to trade him. A few weeks ago we took a look at potential trade destinations for him, but now that the team has given him permission to seek trade partners, it’s time to re-evaluate the landscape.
Gordon not only wants to be traded, he wants a contract extension. When considering options we took that into account.
As a reminder what Gordon can do on the field, he’s a two-time Pro Bowler who has spent the first four years of his career with the Chargers after they took him with the 15th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. After a struggle his rookie year, the Wisconsin product has picked things up, rushing for 2,987 yards and 28 touchdowns over the past three seasons. He has added 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns on 149 receptions.
During the 2018 season, Gordon rushed for 885 yards and 10 scores on 175 carries (5.1 yards per carry), while catching 50 passes for 490 yards and four touchdowns. He’s a fast, versatile back who can hit home runs when he gets into the open field.
Here’s a look at the teams who could really use his services.
The Houston Texans have problems at running back. They acquired Duke Johnson to help offset that, but the problem remains unsolved. The Texans currently rely too heavily on quarterback Deshaun Watson to bolster their rushing attack. Something needs to change.
With DeAndre Hopkins at receiver, Watson has a top-line playmaker available, Gordon could be another. He’s a well-rounded back, can make plays in the passing game and is lethal in the open field. They did trade for Carlos Hyde on cut-down day to help replace Lamar Miller, but Gordon is miles better than Hyde or Johnson. He’d be a good option for a team with a wide-open path to the AFC South title.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are incredibly close to the salary cap with about $3 million left to play with. But they also have a muddled running back situation and a new coach that could use a flashy running back to get things done. While Bruce Arians may not be a big fan of paying a ton for a solid ball-carrier, he may need one to succeed in Tampa Bay.
Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones don’t exactly form an imposing duo in the backfield. Jones has a ton of potential but struggled mightily as a rookie in 2018. Jameis Winston needs weapons other than receiver Mike Evans if Arians truly wants to turn the quarterback’s career around.
Winston could use someone to take pressure off him in the backfield. Gordon is a threat as a receiver and a runner and can take the ball to the house with just a sliver of daylight. The only way Winston will improve is if the pieces around him do as well. Gordon could be worth a move, even if the Bucs have to shift around a lot of money to make it work out.
Green Bay Packers
Gordon is a native of Kenosha and went to Wisconsin, so why wouldn’t he welcome a trip home? The Green Bay Packers always seem like they have their next great running back lined up, but have failed to produce a true go-to threat over the past decade.
Ryan Grant, Eddie Lacy, Ty Montgomery, James Starks, Jamaal Williams and more have all gotten the opportunity to be the team’s top running back. All have failed to sustain their success. The latest guy up is third-year back Aaron Jones, who averaged 5.5 yards per rush on 133 carries in 2018. Can he finally be the team’s answer in the backfield?
We don’t know if Jones is just the latest in a long-line of short-term solutions, but Gordon is a two-time 1,000-yard back who has gained more than 1,375 yards from scrimmage in each of the past three seasons. He’d be a great fit and would immediately add credibility to a running game desperate to find some.
Aaron Rodgers is incredible, but he’s not getting any younger. He needs help.
Davante Adams is a true weapon on the perimeter, but the Packers need a running game to take pressure off their quarterback. Gordon is a fit now and in the future.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are clearly fed up with what they’ve gotten from Leonard Fournette since selecting him with the fourth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The LSU product went over 1,000 yards as a rookie but has missed 11 games over his first two seasons, due to injuries and a suspension for fighting.
Things got so bad between the two parties that the Jaguars voided the guarantees left in his contract and even considered outright releasing him in the offseason. Fournette is back in Jacksonville this year, but it’s clear he’s on thin ice.
The Jaguars threw a ton of money at Nick Foles this offseason to solve their offensive problems. They have a pair of talented receivers in Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook but both are huge question marks. The Jags have no other real playmakers on offense. With an uber-talented defense, Jacksonville needs something (read: anything!) out of its offense.
Gordon could finally be the piece that moves the needle for the Jags’ dormant offense. Foles won’t make the mistakes Blake Bortles did at quarterback, and Gordon would give Jacksonville a rock to build a foundation on.