Melvin Gordon: Chargers teammates 'have my back' in contract pursuit

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

Last week, we found out that Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon won’t be reporting to training camp with the rest of his teammates next Wednesday without a contract extension.

And if he doesn’t get a new deal, Gordon would like to be traded.

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But Gordon says his teammates and other players around the league understand.

‘They’re all behind me’

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon said his teammates support him in his quest to get a contract extension from the team. (AP)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon said his teammates support him in his quest to get a contract extension from the team. (AP)

In a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Sam Alipour this week, Gordon said he gave some teammates a heads-up that he would be making a pay-me-or-I’ll-hold out statement to the team, and those teammates support him.

“They're all behind me. They all got my back,” Gordon said. “They all told me, ‘You know what, we don't really speak on contracts, but you just go and do what's best for your family.’ And I'm glad I got that support from them.”

The 15th pick in the 2015 draft, Gordon is a two-time Pro Bowler (2016, 2018) and is headed into the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. Under that option year, Gordon is currently slated to earn $5.6 million in 2019.

‘I love being a Charger’

The 26-year-old Gordon wants fans to understand that he doesn’t want out of the organization.

“Just because we’re going through contract issues right now doesn’t mean I want to get traded,” he said. “I love being a Charger. I don’t want them to feel like I don’t want to be there.”

Last week, agent Damarius Bilbo told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Gordon feels disrespected by the contract offers Los Angeles had made to that point.

“He's very serious. He's worked his butt off and the fifth-year option is a result of where he was drafted,” Bilbo said. “It's what it is. But if we'd gotten a respectable offer, we wouldn't be here. But he felt disrespected. He's very serious.”

Bilbo would not dismiss the idea of a Gordon holdout lasting into the regular season. The Wisconsin native did take part in the team’s mandatory minicamp, though he stayed away for much of the rest of the offseason program, which is voluntary.

Gordon said the Chargers know what he’d like to see in a new contract, and that he’s received a lot of support from other running backs in particular.

“A lot of running backs have reached out to me, just saying go out and get what you deserve,” he said.

Given the relatively short careers of running backs, even star backs, this could be Gordon’s only chance at a long-term, top-money deal. The Chargers, however, know that they could keep Gordon at this year’s $5.6 million, then franchise him for 2020, and get another 600 or so touches out of him in that time.

That works for the team, but it of course means that the market for Gordon would likely be depressed after the ‘20 season, when he’s weeks from turning 30.

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