Here I am again; almost two and a half years to the date where I emphatically was making the case for the Chargers to re sign another controversial Melvin. I was one of the few to have the opinion of the then San Diego Chargers, absolutely needing to lock up Melvin Ingram at whatever cost necessary. I read the comments and all the tweets calling me crazy: “He is injury prone... He only had one season of double digit sacks...He is not an impact player...” Looks like that all turned out well for the Bolts no?
So like I said, here I am again, the lone brave member of the BFTB squad who is once again called upon to voice a very unpopular opinion; the Chargers need to re sign another Melvin, this time Melvin Gordon. This will be a more heroic and brave showing than Jon Snow drawing his sword as a hoard of troops riding on horses comes barreling towards him in the Battle of the Bastards. So lets debunk each of the popular criticisms to re-signing this elite back (yea I said it elite) shall we?
“The Chargers don’t need Gordon, they were fine with Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, and Detrez Newsome when Gordon was out last year due to injury.” Really? Those backs were fine filling in for a couple of games but in no way shape or form would Los Angeles have as an effective offense if all three of the aforementioned were forced to be major contributors. I don’t care what the numbers say, Ekeler (who I am a huge fan of), will not be as efficient or effective if forced to have a primary role for 2 reasons, durability, and the fact that the coaching staff have forced him to play the same role as Gordon, as oppose to catering to his unique skill sets. Once again, I know what the numbers say about Ekeler, but those numbers are from a small sample size. Is it really logical to think he can keep up his efficiency if he saw a 35% increase in touches? And do you really trust an offensive coordinator who was having trouble how to use Hunter Henry a couple of years back to maximize the talent of Ekeler? Yea I don’t either.
The Chargers built this offense around Gordon and it has paid them dividends. He has taken the pressure off an at best average offensive line and an aging quarterback. Remember how this offense looked before Gordon with players like Ronnie Brown, and Branden Oliver? Rivers was chucking the ball around, getting killed every drop back because of the lack of the running game. Oh and side note, the people that are saying Ekeler can be the main back now are the same people who said the Chargers will be fine for years starting Branden Oliver at the running back position because if you extrapolate the data it shows that he would be amazing (insert eye rolling emoji)!
This leads us to our next criticism, “Melvin Gordon is injury prone! He missed 9 games in 4 years!” But has he? Does anyone remember in 2016, when the Chargers were putrid? Gordon got hurt late in the year during the Texans game and then the Chargers made the business decision to pretty much sit him for the rest of the year because they were going nowhere (they finished 5-11). If Los Angeles had something to play for Gordon would have been available to finish out the season. So in essence, Gordon has missed 6 games in 4 years, not exactly injury prone.
Oh, lets not forget one of my favorites, “You don’t pay a running back big money! If they re-sign Gordon they will be in salary cap hell! They have more important players coming up that they need to extend over Gordon!” Where do I start with these falsehoods? First of all, the salary cap is fake. Look at what the GMs for the Eagles, Vikings, and Falcons have done throughout the years. They have been creative on structuring deals so they can keep or obtain new talent. So yes there is a salary cap every team needs to adhere to, but all that means is that Tom Telesco is going to have to think outside the box with bonus/deal structures for the players they need to re sign. Oh and let’s not forget some players who will no longer be with L.A. at the end of this season due to age or performance (Okung, Mebane, etc). That frees up some space to on the salary cap. Speaking of that salary cap, it pretty much goes up every year and no one knows what it is going to look like in 2-3 years from now, so please everyone stop with the salary cap mularky, the Chargers will be able to re sign Gordon and the rest of the core if TT puts on his thinking cap.
You don’t pay a running back big money! But do you know who you should pay big money to? Your best players, and Gordon is one of the Chargers best offensive weapons. Just by using the eye test, when Gordon wasn’t in for Los Angeles they looked extremely sluggish.
What has Tom Telesco’s mantra been? “We want to build through the draft.” Translation, for the most part we will not focus on the flashy, high priced veterans during free agency, but instead we will draft cheap talent, cultivate it, and re sign our own because when we re sign our own it usually is cheaper than signing an external free agent who is equally as talented. Passing on Gordon would make Los Angeles look completely idiotic. If they didn’t value the running back position why did they draft one in the first round? Also, what was the thought process of drafting Gordon. They must have saw something in him and thought he would be good, that is why they invested so much capital in him. So they were right, a player they drafted a couple of years back is good, and now that he is good they don’t want to re sign him? That is just bad business. The hopes are (especially for a team’s first round selection), that the player you draft performs well so that you can offer them a second contract and continue building the team up as oppose to re starting every 4 years. So if the Chargers believe in building through the draft, why would they let one of their hits leave in free agency. It is not like they will be active next offseason during the free agency period.
Listen to what Gordon has said. He has never said he wants to be the top paid back in the league. He just wants to be in the vacinity which is asbolutely fair for what he has done for the team. Gordon is a good kid to, he is not a thug like LeVeon Bell (who has been suspended for not being able to lay off the damn WEED!). He is beloved in the locker room and has improved every year. The Chargers are still fighting for a Super Bowl and L.A., if they have any chance winning those fights they will have to have Gordon in the backfield shouldering the load.