Phillip Lindsay Dismisses Notion of him Seeking Trade from Broncos
What really rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way when the Denver Broncos gave RB Melvin Gordon a two-year, $16 million contract little more than a week ago were the implications it had for Phillip Lindsay.
Lindsay has been the Broncos' heart and soul for the last two years and arguably, the team's most valuable player. In his end-of-season presser back in December, GM John Elway breathed life into the topic of getting Lindsay paid, telling local media that he would look into it and that the team would "like to do something".
Now, however, the available salary cap dollars have all but dried up and Lindsay is left holding the bag, as it were. This has led some to wonder, and perhaps even worry, that Lindsay might want out of Denver. However, to believe that would be to completely ignore the character the former CU Buffalo star has displayed throughout his football career.
“Nah. If you’re hearing that stuff I don’t know where you’re getting that from," Lindsay told KUSA's Mike Klis on Monday. "Nothing like that going on."
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Lindsay wants to be clear about the dynamic with Gordon. The 'Colorado Kid' welcomes and relishes competition and will not only embrace Gordon as a teammate but also the opportunity to vie for the starting job.
“Melvin’s not my enemy,’’ Lindsay told 9NEWS via phone call. “He’s my teammate. He needs to do his job but best believe I’m going to do my job.’’
Has Lindsay out-played his contract with the Broncos? To argue anything other than a resounding 'yes' would be remiss.
Lindsay entered the league as a college free agent in 2018 and fought his way onto the roster quickly. By mid-season, he had earned the Broncos' starting job and by the time the year was up, he'd eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing while posting 10 total touchdowns.
It earned him an unprecedented Pro Bowl nod as an undrafted rookie, though he couldn't play in the game due to a wrist injury suffered in the second-to-last game of the season. Just in case anyone viewed his dynamic rookie performance as a flash in the pan, Lindsay produced yet another 1,000-yard rushing campaign in 2019, making him one of only four Broncos' running backs all-time to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
I shudder to think what complexion this team would have taken on had Lindsay chosen to sign with the Baltimore Ravens as a CFA, which almost happened. His presence and explosive play-making ability has single-handedly won several games for the Broncos.
Although he's entering just his third NFL season, because he's a former CFA, he's eligible now to get an extension. The kid more than deserves it, especially with a baby on the way.
“I feel like I’ve outplayed my contract," Lindsay told Klis. "I deserve to take care of my family, too. But I’m under contract still. My mindset is to play out my contract. The fact is, nothing has to be done. You can’t make anybody do something they don’t want to do."
For now, all Lindsay can do is focus on the things he can control. That is, his mindset and work ethic. But despite reports that the Broncos plan to make Gordon the 'bell-cow' in the offense, remember; he'll have to vanquish Lindsay first. No running back has been able to do that yet, dating back to Lindsay's high school days.
“When camp comes around it’s going to be a battle,’’ Lindsay told Klis. “I’m not just going to sit there and give somebody the job. They can. But I’m going to go out there and I’m going to battle."
While I rebel at the notion of the Broncos investing even more money into the running back room, the bottom line is, what's right is right. Lindsay deserves a raise, even if it doesn't amount to a deal commensurate with Gordon's $8M APY.
The Broncos still have some cap wiggle room, though it's dried up significantly over the last two weeks. However, with a creative cap guru in Rich Hurtado on staff and in light of the salary cap being projected to grow substantially in 2021, I have full faith that the Broncos could find way to fit a Lindsay deal in.
As it stands, Lindsay enters the 2020 season set to earn $750K in base salary. Meanwhile, Gordon has yet to play a single snap in the Orange and Blue and will take home nearly 10 times that amount ($7M). That's not right.
For his part, Gordon has said nothing but positive things about working with Lindsay.
"I think we can be a great one-two punch," Gordon said in his conference call with local media last week. "Me and [Chargers RB] Austin [Ekeler] were kind of that one-two punch... Right now, it’s about winning football games. 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.”
Once life returns to normalcy and the Broncos hit the practice field, the games will begin. May the best man win.