As Josina Anderson of ESPN reported late Tuesday night, the Chargers have made it clear what they’re looking for in exchange for their two-time Pro Bowl running back — a 2020 first-round draft pick or a 2021 first and fifth-round draft pick.
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Chargers’ Own Value of Gordon Hurts Them in Trade Talks
As everyone should be aware by now, Gordon is holding out in the hopes of landing a new contract. The 26-year-old running back is looking for roughly $13 million per season — which would mean that the team acquiring Gordon would have to pay him his money in addition to giving the Chargers the bloated draft capital that they covet.
Here’s the problem with this picture — the Chargers are seeking elite compensation for a guy that they don’t view to be elite. Because if they did value Gordon to be a high-end back, they would have offered him money in the high-end range such as what the Los Angeles Rams did with Todd Gurley ($15 million this season) and the New York Jets did with Le’Veon Bell ($13 million this season).
Another problem here is that running backs — as Ezekiel Elliott is finding out with the Dallas Cowboys — aren’t valued very highly these days. Bell wanted a new contract in Pittsburgh and he never got it. In fact, he sat out and never played another game in a Steelers uniform again.
Gordon faces a similar predicament in Los Angeles and while the Chargers are declaring an outrageous asking price for their star running back, here’s the bottom line — they hold all of the leverage, as Mike Florio of NBC Sports points out.
“Maybe they don’t want a one and a five. Maybe it’s an opener. Maybe they’ll eventually come down. Maybe they won’t.
Ultimately, the Chargers can do whatever they want. They hold the cards, and they can sit and wait for Gordon to show up, get credit for the fifth year of his rookie deal, and then let him walk away as a free agent, sign him to a long-term deal, tag him, or tag him and trade him.”
One Team Has Been in Trade Talks for Gordon
While we’re pretty clear on where both sides stand, what is the market for Gordon?
Gordon’s representatives have been given permission to seek a trade — it’s no coincidence that within days of that occurring, the 6-foot-1 running back started following the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers on Instagram.
However, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN, there’s one team that has stood out above the rest in regard to their interest in Gordon.
The Niners currently have the inexperienced Matt Breida as the starting running back, the Raiders just released Doug Martin due to a season-ending injury, the Falcons’ Devonta Freeman is returning after an injury-plagued 2018 campaign and the Eagles can always do better than Jordan Howard — who averaged just 3.7 yards per carry with the Chicago Bears last season.
Anderson doesn’t cite which particular NFL team is showing extreme interest in Gordon, but whichever team that is, will have to pay Gordon more than $10 million per season and dish out some draft picks for the young running back.
Is that a price that NFL teams are willing to pay?
The Chargers — and Gordon — are hoping so.