Halfbacks & Holdouts: The Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott Story
By: Anthony Gex, Writer at BushLeagueSports
The NFL has seen a growing trend of players holding out for larger contracts. The trend has continued this season with pro bowl running backs Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott.
Training camp kicked off for the NFL on Thursday, June 25th, but the two halfbacks did not report to their respective camps. These hold outs put these organizations into a tough spot, especially at the beginning of the new season. The big question is, is it worth it for an NFL team to pay these star running backs the money they want?
Melvin Gordon’s Situation:
The Chargers are having their camp in Costa Mesa CA, while the Cowboys are set up in Oxnard, CA. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn did not have much to say when asked about Gordon not being there for day one.
“Melvin’s not here, I only like to talk about players who are here (playing),” said Lynn.
Melvin Gordon is seeking an expensive contract extension and hopes to be a top-three paid running back, which would probably have to be around 13-15 million dollars a year.
I do not believe that the Chargers should spend that sort of money on a running back, who will be 30-years old after his desired contract extension. One could mention that Gordon is a two-time pro bowler and has gotten better with age.
The main concern for the Chargers, however, is that Gordon has only ever played 16 games in a season once. Gordon has also had ankle and knee injuries that have lingered with him during his time with the Chargers.
I do not believe it is in the best interest for the Chargers to pay Gordon that type of money because the truth of the matter is, the running back position is just not worth it. It was a daunting task when I tried to think of the starting running backs for the last five Super Bowl Champion teams. Not saying that this position is unimportant or it would not help the Chargers to have him, but historically, a star running back will not make or break a championship-caliber team.
The Chargers went 4-0 last season without Gordon including wins against the Steelers and Chiefs as the road team. Los Angeles has capable backs in Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler, who both offer different things to the Chargers offense.
Unfortunately, the Chargers should not give the desired contract extension to Gordon especially when they will need to resign players like Keenan Allen, Philip Rivers, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and down the line Derwin James. The Chargers do not want to put themselves in a hole and it is understandable.
Although Melvin Gordon has now asked for a trade, I do not see the Chargers moving him unless it nets a big return.
Ezekiel Elliott Situation:
As for America’s team, they also have their star Running Back holding out, but their situation is a bit more difficult. The Cowboys had a similar issue with Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith in 1992. The Cowboys lost their first two games and eventually caved into giving Smith a big-time contract.
Ezekiel Elliott now wants to get his. Ever since Elliott has put on a Cowboys uniform the team has played noticeably better. In his rookie season, Elliott rushed for more than 1,500 yards and had 15 touchdowns.
After three seasons, Elliott has established himself as a top tier running back and potential Hall of Famer-a main reason to bring back the league’s leading rusher.
The offense is run through Elliott, and it shows when he is absent. When he has missed games, Dallas is sitting at a mediocre 4-4.
In Los Angeles, the Chargers have a proven veteran and future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers. While Prescott has been a pro bowler, the Cowboys do not have the luxury to not pay Elliot and still succeed.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says that he is not worried about a timetable of a deal or holdout, but believes the two parties can work out a deal to keep the star running back in Dallas.
Elliot is handling this situation a bit more professional than Gordon, and it seems more positive for the former Buckeye to get paid.
A deal between Dallas and Elliot is likely to be done, as the two know they can mutually benefit each other. Although Elliot wants to get paid as a top-tier running back, I am still not sure it is completely worth it, but in this situation, extending Elliot is a must.