Melvin Gordon has a fairly large chip on his shoulder heading into the 2020 NFL season. The 26-year-old running back signed with the Denver Broncos and he has a lot to prove in 2020. Unfortunately, he actually made a great case against investing money into the running back position during a recent interview.
When asked about having a chip on his shoulder, Gordon agreed and said the following:
So, what you're telling me is that without an offensive line, there's no reason to invest in a running back? This argument is really not a great one from the two-time Pro Bowler. If anything, it shows that teams should prioritize paying offensive linemen over running backs. Which, I'm pretty sure isn't what Gordon was going for.
Gordon is correct that he struggled in 2019 largely due to factors outside of his control. The entire Chargers roster struggled as the team suffered tons of injuries and failed to get on the same page for much of the season. Gordon's holdout didn't help matters. But when he came back he rushed for 612 yards and eight touchdowns on 162 attempts (3.8 yards per attempt). He also had fumbling issues. He did catch 42 passes but only gained 296 yards on those receptions.
The 2019 season was a huge step back for Gordon, after he averaged 5.1 yards per carry and had 14 total touchdowns in 2018. His numbers proved the people doubting him right.
Yes, he's correct about not having his offensive linemen. Russell Okung only played six games in 2019 and Mike Pouncey only managed to play five. The rest of the line was basically a mismatched group of misfits, none of whom was really any good. Pro Football Focus ranked the Chargers' line 29th on the season.
In pointing out his line's woes, Gordon is basically saying that without a good one, he's nothing more than an average running back. So why should a team pay him big money? A lot of average running backs are pretty good when they have great lines. Gordon was arguing against his own interests.