Melvin Gordon Shares Outlook on Working with Phillip Lindsay to Elevate Broncos in the Standings
The Denver Broncos have officially signed ex-Chargers RB Melvin Gordon to a contract of $16 million over two years, with $13.5 million guaranteed. With the splashy move, Broncos' GM John Elway expects Gordon to be the ‘bell-cow’ for OC Pat Shurmur’s spread-offense.
Gordon’s ability to find the endzone in the rushing attack, combined with his knowledge in route running and coverages, are reasons why the Broncos prioritized him in free agency. While this acquisition is projected to caffeinate the offense, some in Broncos Country wonder what this means for hometown favorite Phillip Lindsay.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Broncos held a phone conference on Friday morning presenting Gordon to the local media. It didn't take long for Gordon to be asked what made Denver a good fit for him.
“You only hear great things about Denver," Gordon said on Friday. "Obviously, I played there every year I’ve been in the league. I know how great the fanbase is. I like their scheme. I watched film on them. I checked the offensive linemen. I like the way they get to the second level on their double teams. I just thought it was a great move and a great place to start off fresh and help boost my career.”
After the Broncos agreed to terms with Gordon exactly one week ago, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that the two-time Pro Bowler had a better offer from another team but wanted to stay in the AFC West to play his former team twice per year.
Last season, Gordon and the Chargers were at odds regarding a contract dispute, leading him to a hold-out that lasted four games. Upon his return, he played in 12 games rushing for 612 yards, eight touchdowns, and 39 first-downs.
Gordon also hauled in 42 receptions for 296 yards, and one touchdown, with 11 first-downs through the air. When the offseason rolled around, the Chargers signed RB Austin Ekeler to a new four-year, $24.5 million deal in March that included $15 million guaranteed.
Consequently, there’s no love lost between the Chargers and their 2015 first-round pick (No. 15 overall). On Friday, Gordon shared his thoughts about facing his former team.
“It will be dope. I’m excited," Gordon said. "I was with those guys five years—great relationship with all of those guys. It’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be electric. It’s going to be a lot of trash talk. I know them. I know the defense. They’re definitely going to let me hear it. I’m going to let them hear it as well. It’s going to be fun. It’s definitely going to be a war out there. It’s definitely going to be exciting.”
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While eager to face his former team, it didn't take long for Gordon to hear from one of his new teammates. Fans will be relieved to know that back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher Phillip Lindsay reached out to Gordon.
“As far as with Lindsay, he’s a great back. I watched him up close in person," Gordon said. "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 Austin 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."
The most important aspect of Gordon’s approach in joining the Broncos was revealed in this afternoon’s phone conference — a team-first mentality. While the argument can be made that it’s easy to be ‘team player’ and not worry about carries when said player is guaranteed $13.5 million, Gordon is just reaching the prime of his career.
"I know people are wondering what is his position with getting carries and things like that. Right now, it’s about winning football games," Gordon said. "We’ll worry about that later. We’re just trying to put the team in the best position to win football games and score points.”
The 26-year old showed humility and maturity on Friday when addressing the ramifications of his holdout last season in retrospect.
“It was tough, but I definitely felt that I ruined some relationships. It’s all part of it," Gordon said. "Obviously, you try your best to kind of put that aside and try and go out there and still give it your all. That’s what I tried to do. At times it was definitely difficult... Like I said, it was difficult. It was challenging, but I got through. Obviously, I can’t take back what I did. What’s done is done. Now I’m here.”
The fact of the matter is, there’s the potential for both Gordon and Lindsay to have success this upcoming season. Apart from Tennessee Titans' Derrick Henry, the days of featuring one ground-and-pound RB are in the past.
Although the Broncos certainly don’t project a ‘RB by committee’ philosophy, having both backs to deploy will assist in the development of second-year QB Drew Lock. Lock already has familiarity with Lindsay’s playmaking abilities, and he can now rely on Gordon’s versatility and experience.
The grueling nature of the NFL season almost guarantees injuries at every position and by adding Gordon, the Broncos' RB stable has been bolstered.