After a breakout season, Melvin Gordon has solidified himself as the number one back for the Chargers. The man who has spelled him for the past two seasons has been Danny Woodhead. Although he is a fan favorite and great receiver out of the backfield, there isn’t a need for him anymore.
The Chargers are going to have a very different situation at running back next year. Gordon is going to get the bulk of the carries and whoever is the backup may see the field for no more than 10-15 snaps a game.
Although Woodhead only played in two games last season, he saw plenty of action. Him and Gordon were a true “running back by committee”. Which is not in the best interest of the Chargers if they want to build this offense around Gordon.
If the Chargers plan on using Woodhead as much as they have in the past, Gordon is going to be playing about 50 percent of the time. That’s not how a number one back should be used in the NFL. Maybe it’s not fair to Woodhead that his offensive coordinator relies on him too much, but I think the Chargers need to showcase Gordon 16 games a year.
Now, having a solid backup like Woodhead is important, but having a receiving back isn’t a need for the Bolts anymore. Gordon proved last season that he can be on the field on third downs. Last season, Gordon grabbed 41 receptions for 419 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Having a backup that is more of a runner would be more useful in case Gordon gets banged up for a few games.
Woodhead is 32 years old now and coming off of an ACL injury. That’s two very big question marks for any running back. In the past three seasons, Woodhead has only played in 21 games. The age and injury concerns only add on to the risk of bringing Woodhead back.
Well, if the Chargers don’t re-sign Woodhead, what are the other options?
There are a few players on the Chargers who could fill in behind Gordon. Branden Oliver, a player who has an injury history, but ran extremely hard and effectively when on the field. Along with Kenneth Farrow, who filled in for Gordon last season and is another cheap option.
Then there is the free agent market. There aren’t too many appealing options but the Chargers could take fliers on guys like Justin Forsett or Christine Michael. This probably isn’t a likely scenario, but if the Chargers are trying to save money, maybe they opt to sign one of these veterans.
The last option would be the draft. This is probably the best place the Chargers can look to find Gordon a backup for years to come. Now, the Chargers can find answers in the middle to late rounds with guys like Samaje Perine or San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey.
The Los Angeles Chargers will have plenty of options to find a back that is a perfect spell to Gordon. There is no need to bring back a 32-year-old coming off major knee surgery.