King On Melvin Gordon Holdout: Chargers Prioritizing Future, 'Must Keeps'

Running Back Sat Out Of Week 1 Win

Tiki and Tierney
September 13, 2019 - 1:50 pm
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at State Farm Stadium.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Melvin Gordon's holdout carried into the regular season.

When the Los Angeles Chargers took the field on Sunday, Gordon was nowhere to be found as he continues his battle for a new contract. Gordon's agent, Damarius Bilbo, told Yahoo Sports' Terez Paylor that the team granted the running back permission to seek a trade partner. Nearly two weeks have passed since Gordon received permission, but he remains with the team as they prepare for their Week 2 meeting with the Detroit Lions. 

NBC Sports' Peter King joined Tiki & Tierney on Thursday explaining why he believes Gordon has yet to receive a contract extension. 

"The Melvin Gordon thing is a classic example of what NFL teams think of running backs today," King said. "I'd say there's one or two exceptions to that. I think obviously Ezekiel Elliott is an exception to that. I visited the Chargers in training camp and I came away feeling very, very strongly that - on their team, the way they are set up right now - they have some guys who they think are "must keeps." They have some guys who they think in the future, they're going to have to pay."

Gordon is one of the many notable names who will be in need of a new contract following the season. Tight end Hunter Henry, who suffered a fracture in his right knee in Week 1, fullback Derek Watt, offensive lineman Michael Schofield and free safety Adrian Phillips highlight the unrestricted free agents the Chargers could potentially lose. That's not to mention Gordon's backups, Austin Ekeler and Troymaine Pope hitting restricted free agency in 2020. 

Ekeler and Justin Jackson filled the void that Gordon left in the team's win over the Colts. Ekeler ran for 58 yards on 12 carries, adding six catches for 96 yards. He scored three combined touchdowns as the team's lead back. Jackson nearly led the team in rushing, falling one yard short of Ekeler's mark. King says that the duo's performance has made Gordon expendable as he searches for a massive payday. 

"It isn't that they don't want to keep Melvin Gordon," King said. "But when you look at this statistic; In the last 17 Los Angeles Charger games, if you add up the two backup running backs - Jackson and Ekeler - and you add up their yards per touch from scrimmage, it's better than Melvin Gordon's yards per touch from scrimmage. It's about; I'm going to guess it's about 25 fewer touches, maybe 20 now because obviously Gordon didn't play last week.

"I just think if you watch the sport of football, you see that teams like the Chargers, they're not dependent on Melvin Gordon. I think Philip Rivers is more important. I think even Keenan Allen is more important to their offense."

Click the audio player below to listen to King's interview in its entirety.