Melvin Gordon Gets Into Twitter Dust-up with Radio Host over Broncos Contract
The Denver Broncos' decision to pay top-of-the-market money to ex-Chargers RB Melvin Gordon this past spring was met with some controversy. Gordon got $16 million on a two-year deal in Denver.
Media and fans alike were left scratching our collective heads because, after all, the Broncos already had a bonafide Pro Bowl running back who'd proven he could be the workhorse in Phillip Lindsay and he'll soon need to get paid. Adding insult to injury, GM John Elway got Lindsay's hopes up that heading into his third year, the Broncos would take a hard look at giving him a raise since he'd outkicked the coverage on his rookie deal by a mile.
None of the controversy surrounding the Gordon acquisition has anything to do with him as a player. As a 2015 first-round pick, he's got one 1,000-yard rushing season under his belt while earning two Pro Bowl selections.
He's a great dual-threat back who can pound the rock inside and outside the tackles, while also being an above-average receiver out of the backfield. When it comes to the criticism Gordon's deal has garnered, the rub is twofold.
One, the wisdom of paying big money to a running back on his second contract is highly questionable in the modern NFL. Two, the deal may have literally taken food off of Lindsay's table.
That background sets the stage for a little Twitter dust-up that occurred on Tuesday between local radio host Brandon Stokley, who played for the Broncos for four seasons as part of a 15-year career, and Gordon. Stokley, who now works as one half of 104.3 The FAN's Stokley and Zach show, was triggered by a tweet from Spotrac that listed the NFL teams with the most money tied up in their QB, RB, and WR trio, which had the Broncos at No. 31.
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Naturally, Gordon took exception to the notion of being an overpaid running back. Gordon now ranks as the seventh highest-paid RB in the league with an $8M APY.
The dust-up with Stokley didn't end there, though. Stokley replied.
Stokley's point is the same issue that has stuck in people's craw since Gordon was signed. Why pay through the nose for a RB when you already have one of the best play-makers at the position under contract?
If it wasn't going to be diverted into Lindsay's purse, that money could have been spent elsewhere, like on a cornerback or offensive tackle like Jason Peters, Kelvin Beachum, or Cordy Glenn to give the Broncos some insurance behind the recidivist Garett Bolles and the injury-prone Ja'Wuan James.
Gordon simply took the money the Broncos offered. He didn't give a second thought to Lindsay, and why would he? These are pros and they have to worry about their own careers.
Now that they're teammates, Gordon will have to find a way to get along with Lindsay and I doubt there will be a problem in doing just that. Lindsay has already expressed an optimistic and mature outlook on the subject while admitting that the Broncos' decision to pay Gordon was upsetting and hurtful.
"It caught me off-guard because it was like, 'Okay, I've put in the work and done all this' and it makes it seem like they don't respect you enough to know the work you're putting in," Lindsay told Terrell Davis back in May. "So I was really upset at the beginning, I'm not going to lie.
"But then I started to think—and I'm like, 'okay, the thing is this'—if something happens to me or something happens to him, it's hard. When I wasn't in the game, stuff was not going as well or smooth. But if you have somebody that can complement me like I did my rookie year where I'm not just running up the middle trying to get first downs all day. I was like, 'Okay, this takes some pressure off me. Now I can do my job and use my speed do my stuff and stay healthier, too.'"
For his part, Gordon has also expressed optimism about working with Lindsay, while paying him a compliment.
“As far as with Lindsay, he’s a great back. I watched him up close in person," Gordon said back in May. "These last few days I’ve been watching film on him as well, just kind of seeing how they open things up for him and analyzing him a little bit. I think we can be a great one-two punch. Me and [Chargers RB] Austin [Ekeler] were kind of that one-two punch. I feel like we were one of the better tandems in the league. I just hope to continue that with Lindsay."
Lindsay was hurt by the deal. Gordon is motivated to justify it and prove his doubters like Stokley wrong.
Competition brings out the best in athletes, so when the chips fall where they may, it will be the best man who wins. Considering the fact that no running back, no matter how much money they make or how highly they were recruited or drafted, has ever been able to keep Lindsay off the field, I'm throwing my chips in on him.
Maybe Stokley and Gordon can mend fences once the players get back to the practice field in training camp. Only time will tell.