The Kansas City Chiefs grabbed headlines on Monday, November 28 when NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported that the Chiefs were expected to sign veteran running back Melvin Gordon to their practice squad.
The Chiefs have leaned on undrafted rookie phenom Isiah Pacheco in the backfield, who has performed well since being named the team’s starting running back in Week 7. They also have Jerick McKinnon and Ronald Jones on the active roster, and will soon enough welcome back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (injured reserve).
That’s why signing Gordon was a bit of a head-scratching move.
Gordon was cut by the Denver Broncos on November 21 after recording his fifth fumble of the season during the team’s November 20 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. So, signing a 29-year-old running back with fumbling issues doesn’t make much sense at the surface for the Chiefs, aside from still having to face the Broncos twice in the coming weeks (Weeks 14 and 17).
Twitter Blasts Chiefs for Gordon Signing
Not long after the news of Gordon joining the Chiefs broke, Twitter users began blasting the defending AFC West champions.
“This makes no sense. Let [Ronald Jones] play!” one Twitter user wrote.
“Can’t wait till the Chiefs are trying to run out the clock in the AFC championship game and Gordon fumbles and then Mike White drives the #Jets down the field in the two minute drill to send Gang Green to the Super Bowl,” another user wrote.
“Haha, as a Broncos fan, I say great! Gordon is one of the worst players available, as the chiefs will soon realize,” another user wrote. “He’s a fumble machine, who never owns up to his mistakes and blames everyone else. He’s a weapon alright, one that backfires!”
“I hope the chiefs put him in when a necessary score is needed and he fumbles,” another user wrote. “That would be irony at it’s finest. Signing and fumble prone player to help you down the stretch only to have it back fire w/ the exact reason he was cut from his previous team.”
“Did KC look at their stats, realize they only had 7 fumbles as a team this season, and looked to double that stat with one stroke of the pen?” another user wrote.
“He literally fumbled the game away for the Broncos against us last season. Makes no sense man,” another user wrote.
Why Chiefs Actually Signed Melvin Gordon
Despite his fumbling issues, there is some value in adding Gordon to Kansas City’s backfield.
Outside of Jerick McKinnon, the Chiefs do not have a running back on the roster they can utilize specifically as a third-down/pass-catching back. Pacheco is the early-down back that handles a majority of the carries on those downs, and Jones is Pacheco’s backup on early downs during Edwards-Helaire’s absence.
Pacheco has enough of a workload where he shouldn’t be used on third down as well, and Jones has been notorious for struggling as a pass protector, which makes him essentially unusable on third down. Because of this, adding Gordon to the team provides insurance behind McKinnon as a player that can pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield on later downs.