Ex-Chiefs RB & 2-Time Pro Bowler Signs With AFC Contender: Report

Getty Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Melvin Gordon.

Free agent running back Melvin Gordon, who most recently played for the Kansas City Chiefs, is signing a one-year deal worth up to $3.1 million with the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on July 21.

Gordon, 29, entered the league as a first-round pick (15th overall) of the then-San Diego Chargers in 2015. During his five seasons with the Chargers, he accumulated 1,059 carries, 4,240 rushing yards, and 36 rushing touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference. He also caught 224 passes for 1,873 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns during that same time span. Gordon was a two-time Pro Bowler during his tenure with the Chargers.

The veteran back remained in the AFC West after his stint with the Chargers by joining the Denver Broncos in 2020. He went on to rush for 986 yards and 9 touchdowns during the 2020 season and 918 yards and 8 touchdowns during the 2021 season.

Despite fellow Broncos running back Javonte Williams tearing his ACL early in the 2022 season, Gordon was cut by Denver on November 21 after recording his fifth fumble of the season in the Broncos’ 22-16 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on November 20.

Gordon joined Kansas City’s practice squad on November 28 and remained there for the rest of the season and received a Super Bowl ring for being with Kansas City during the team’s recent championship run.

Several Veteran Backs Still Remain Free Agents

Melvin Gordon is one of several veteran running backs that had to undergo a very long free agency stint this offseason. Among the veteran backs that are still free agents as training camp begins for several NFL teams are Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, and Kareem Hunt.

This offseason has displayed a clear example of what the league’s thoughts are on the running back position. Aging backs are struggling to find a new home despite having some juice left in the tank, and some of the NFL’s best backs, like New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley and Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs, are struggling to land a multi-year deal they are happy with despite supplying elite production in 2022.

The new philosophy in the NFL for the running back position is as followed: draft a running back, let them play out their rookie deal, franchise tag them if they are good, and then let them walk after that. Rinse, repeat. This ensures that NFL teams are getting the best value they can from a running back in the prime of their career, but it also undermines the value of running backs once they reach their mid-to-late twenties.

NFL Backs Sound Off on League’s Strategy With Backs

Some of the NFL’s best running backs have taken to Twitter recently to react to this new philosophy by front offices to address the running back position.

“This is the kind of trash that has artificially devalued one of the most important positions in the game,” Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler wrote on July 17. “Everyone knows it’s tough to win without a top RB and yet they act like we are discardable widgets. I support any RB doing whatever it takes to get his bag.”

“At this point, just take the RB position out the game then,” Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry wrote. “The ones that want to be great & work as hard as they can to give their all to an organization, just seems like it don’t even matter. I’m with every RB that’s fighting to get what they deserve.”

“1. If you’re good enough, they’ll find you. 2. If you work hard enough, you’ll succeed. …If you succeed… 3. You boost the Organization …and then… Doesn’t matter, you’re a RB,” Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor wrote.

Read More