The Denver Broncos are on the verge of giving their running game a much-needed jolt of talent, and it happens to be coming from a former divisional foe.
Stephen Watson, sports anchor and reporter for WISN 12 News, was the first to the scene to report that former Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was close to finding a new home with the Broncos.
Shortly after, the deal was made official, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Gordon inked a two-year contract worth $16 million, with $13.5 million guaranteed.
Gordon Was Quietly Productive in 2019
Melvin Gordon will likely not cash in nearly close to how he would have, had he accepted the Los Angeles Chargers’ original deal prior to the start of the 2019 season. In many ways, he bet on himself and lost.
However, while the decision to reject LA’s contract may not have been the best move for Gordon in retrospect, it’s led to a potential homerun signing for the division rival Broncos.
Gordon was slowed during the start of 2019 after holding out for the first three weeks of the regular season. Over his first three games, he averaged fewer than 2.7 yards per carry. However, once Gordon started to work his way back into game shape, he began to show the abilities that once made him one of the most lethal running backs in all of football.
From Week 9 through Week 15 he averaged a combined 4.6 yards per carry. Over that timeframe he record 80-plus rushing yards on three occasions, finding the endzone four times.
So, while Austin Ekeler may have exceeded most expectations, in return pegging Gordon’s 2019 campaign as a disappointment, Gordon actually showed pretty well once he got his feet under him, in return demonstrating the type of talent that made him so highly valued just a year prior.
Gordon Gives Denver the RB1 They’ve Been in Search Of
Phillip Lindsay is far from a scrub. His rookie campaign was one for the ages, as he came out of nowhere as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado to lead the team in rushing and eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier, ending in a Pro Bowl nod.
Lindsay once again produced in 2019, cracking 1,000-yards rushing in back-to-back seasons. However, his yards per carry dipped nearly a full yard from the year prior, albeit still at a respectable 4.5.
Yet, most importantly the team began to move away from Lindsay more and more at crucial times, opting for fellow running back Royce Freeman. Freeman saw a major jump in production in 2019, mainly in the passing game, hauling in 29 more receptions than he had in 2018. In fact, there were numerous games where Freeman actually outsnapped the perceived starter, Lindsay.
It’s clear that Denver likes both Lindsay and Freeman, but likely doesn’t love one, leading to the move to ensure them a running back who they most-likely perceive as capable of being their bell-cow, every-down back.