With the NFL preseason less than a week away from starting, there are multiple teams with superstar players who have still not attended training camp. The story remains the same year in and year out: A high-profile player feels that he deserves more money than his current contract has him receiving.
Last year, the biggest story of a looming holdout was Le’Veon Bell. The running back who was with the Steelers at the time felt that he deserved more money and decided to sit out the entire 2018 season. This obviously hurt the Steelers drastically as they lost one of the top RB’s in the league. Not to take any credit away from James Conner, who had a phenomenal year. In the offseason, Bell signed with the Jets where he looks to continue his prestigious career.
Two running backs come to mind this season that are in a similar situation. One being Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, and the other being Melvin Gordon of the Los Angeles Chargers. While many believe that a deal will be made with Elliott before the start of the NFL season, the same cannot be said of Gordon.
The Chargers lost to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs last season and currently have 18-1 odds to win the championship this year. That gives them the 10th-best chances to bring home the Lombardi Trophy come February.
These odds will absolutely take a huge hit if Gordon decides to miss any part of the regular season. Gordon is going into his fifth and final year of a five-year rookie contract. He would receive $5.6 million in this final year. It sounds like a lot of money, but not enough for a guy who put up extremely impressive numbers last season.
For a running back who only played in 12 games last season, Gordon put up 885 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns. On top of that, he had 50 receptions, recording 490 yards and four touchdowns. That’s a total of 14 touchdowns and 1,375 yards from scrimmage in just 12 games played.
Obviously, the numbers are there, but organizations tend to dislike being strong-armed by players who are searching for more money. The fear for Gordon is that he could get injured this year, which would hurt his chances at receiving a very hefty contract come the offseason.
This affects the decision for both the organization and Gordon as it comes with a risk; he has had injury problems in the past. Last year, Gordon missed four games due to injury. The Chargers would lose a substantial amount of value in their money spent if Gordon received a new deal and then goes and gets injured week 1 of the 2019 season.
Whether the organization decides to give Gordon the money he’s demanding before the start of the NFL season on Sept. 5 remains to be seen. Only one thing is certain: The Chargers will be much less of a threat to opposing teams without the presence of Gordon. If he decides to hold out for a substantial amount of time, those Super Bowl odds could very well drop from top 10 to bottom 10.
If He Stays Out
Whenever a team loses its top threat, it’s usually a sign to stay away from future bets; no matter what the odds. The Chargers will rely on Austin Ekeler and Detrez Newsome in the backfield if this is how their season unfolds.
Ekeler, who will be going into his third season, had a pretty impressive season last year. The problem is that he does most of his damage through the air, where Gordon provides security both on the ground and through the air. Having a back that can catch the ball out of the backfield is great, but having a running back that can run the ball on the ground is essential for a team searching to take home the title.
The Los Angeles Chargers hope that they can come to terms with Melvin Gordon sooner than later, or you can expect a troublesome year for the recently relocated team.