According to NFL.com, the two sides are still at a stalemate in negotiations and the team is now expecting Gordon’s holdout to continue into the regular season, which means he’s almost certainly going to miss some games this year. The running back, who didn’t show up for training camp, has been holding out since July in hopes of getting a new contract.
Gordon is headed into the final year of his rookie deal, which is scheduled to pay him a total of $5.6 million in base salary in 2019. The running back is looking to get one of two things from his holdout: He either wants a raise or he wants the Chargers to trade him away.
Unfortunately for Gordon, the Chargers have decided that they’re not interested in doing either of those things.
Of course, the fact the holdout now looks like it’s going to extend into the regular season shouldn’t come as a huge surprised and that’s because one of Gordon’s agent, Fletcher Smith, made it clear a few weeks ago that his client would be willing to sit out part of the season if he didn’t get a new deal.
During an interview in July, Smith was asked if Gordon was prepared to sit out the entire regular season.
“Oh, he’s prepared to sit,” Smith said. “We’ll take it day by day, week by week and see how things go, but at this time, if he can’t get anything done, he certainly won’t be in training camp, and he’s prepared to sit as long as he has to.”
According to ESPN.com, the Chargers made Gordon an offer that fell somewhere $10 million and $11 million, but the running back rejected it. The Chargers have refused to up the offer, which would have made Gordon the fourth-highest paid running back in the NFL.
Gordon was drafted in 2015, the same year as Gurley and David Johnson, and since he rejected the Chargers offer, it sounds like he’d like to get a deal similar to his two draftmates. Gurley received a four-year, $60 million deal in July 2018 while Johnson inked a three-year, $39 million contract in September.
At this point, the Chargers best option might just be to trade Gordon, which Smith would like to see for his client.
“All we need is one team,” Smith said in July. “For those teams that have a running back, but maybe he’s not the back that they need, maybe trade a player and a pick. Right now, I don’t know, because we have not been empowered to talk to other teams to discuss a trade, but all you need is one trade partner.”
Gordon is coming off a highly efficient season where he ranked fifth in the NFL in total touchdowns with 14, despite missing four games. Gordon, who finished the season 885 rushing yards, averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2018, which was more than any of the NFL’s top three leaders in rushing yards: Ezekiel Elliott (4.7), Saquon Barkley (5.0) and Todd Gurley (4.9).
For every regular-season game that Gordon misses, he’ll lose out on a paycheck worth just over $329,000. If Gordon doesn’t show up for the regular season, the big winners will be Chargers backup running backs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, who will see some serious action during the early portion of the season if Gordon isn’t playing. The Chargers will open their season on Sept. 8 against the Colts, followed by games against the Lions, Texans and Dolphins.