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The battle for playing time at running back is the best Broncos storyline

(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

The Broncos have had a big offseason. No team has spent more money on the defensive side of the ball, they drafted multiple offensive weapons for their young QB, added a new offensive coordinator and their starting right tackle opted out of the 2020 season. With all these storylines around the Broncos, people are sleeping on one of the more interesting position groups on this team, the running back room.

Phillip Lindsay is coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons, and he’s a hometown favorite among Broncos Country. Standing at a whopping 5-foot-8, 190 pounds, Lindsay is explosive and cuts on a dime. Lindsay brings a chip on his shoulder to the Broncos locker room. He is an undrafted free agent, and undersized for his position. Now that chip is about to get even bigger as the Broncos signed his replacement in the offseason.

Melvin Gordon signed a two-year deal worth $16 million with $13.5 million guaranteed. He will make $8 million in 2020. With this contract, it seems Melvin Gordon is set up for a big role in tge Broncos offense. Gordon brings his own motivation to Denver. This is a guy who held out in 2019 (admitted it was a bad idea) and was then let go by the Chargers when they signed his backup in Austin Ekeler to a long term deal.

It’s safe to say that 2019 was not the ideal season for Gordon and he comes to Denver with a lot to prove. Although his contract is short term, he is set to be the full-time starter in 2020. His future in Denver is unclear after that.

The Broncos brought in Gordon for some key scenarios in this offense. Short-yardage situations, red-zone and pass protection. Lindsay struggles in all of these categories. The Broncos wanted this role for Royce Freeman, but it didn’t work out.

Melvin Gordon broke more tackles than any other running back between 2016-18, scored double-digit touchdowns in that period and he can offer pass protection for the Broncos young quarterback. As good as Lindsay is with the ball in his hands, e is not much of a pass catcher, and with his frame, it makes short yardage, pass protection and breaking tackles difficult at the NFL level. Gordon can fix those issues for this team.

The Broncos running back room is one of the more interesting storylines in 2020. There are two successful NFL running backs, both look at themselves as starters in this league. Their stories differ greatly with one being an undrafted free agent who beat the odds and still has a lot to prove, the other being a first-round draft pick who feels the league has given up on him. This should make for a successful rushing season for this Broncos offense.