Well, the Melvin Gordon era in Denver was a hoot, wasn’t it? Not that it’s officially over, but after the running back was arrested for driving under the influence late Tuesday night, it might as well be.
Gordon signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Broncos in March. $13.5 million of that was guaranteed, including $9 million that would hit Denver’s salary cap next season.
Now, the Broncos can void the second year of his contract, something they’d be wise to do. They can cut their losses and get out of a bad investment.
On the field, Gordon has been fine. Not great. Not bad. Just so-so.
Through four game, the running back has 65 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns, plus 11 receptions for another 45 yards and a score. That’s not bad. But it certainly isn’t worth $8 million per year.
Denver can get that type of production out of Phillip Lindsay, at a fraction of the cost. They can put the savings to use and fill one of the many roster holes that still exist.
But it’s not just on the field that Gordon hasn’t lived up to the hype. He’s also been disappointing away from the gridiron.
Obviously, his DUI is at the top of the list of missteps. It’s an unbelievably stupid mistake, one that is easily avoided. But that’s just the latest misstep.
Gordon being a “problem” is not surprising. There have been plenty of red flags.
First, the running back decided to hold out prior to the 2019 season. Anyone who saw Dak Prescott’s injury last week understands why players want to “get paid,” but it’s still not a team-first mentality. Gordon was under contract and wasn’t due a new deal.
When the Chargers called his bluff, the running back returned after four weeks. He was ill-prepared to play, however, and posted a disappointing season.
Ultimately, he was replaced by Austin Ekeler in the backfield, a player Los Angeles was willing to pay. That decision should’ve been a warning sign.
This offseason, Gordon was nowhere to be found during the team’s unofficial gatherings at local parks. He wasn’t required to be there, but no one else was either. So his absence, after becoming the seventh highest-paid running back in the NFL wasn’t a good look.
Those who covered Gordon during his time with the Chargers weren’t surprised. They said he wasn’t “an offseason workout guy.” Well, that’s less than super.
And then this past weekend, there was the final troublesome sign. When the Broncos game against the Patriots was postponed, causing a shuffling of the team’s schedule, Gordon was quick to complain on social media. He was bummed that his bye week had suddenly disappeared.
That’s a natural reaction, to be fair. But it’s also telling. It’s a guy who is more worried about vacation than the job at hand.
Late Tuesday night, Gordon proved this to be true. After three days off, with practice slated for the next morning, he was drunk, speeding down Speer Boulevard, endangering himself and others.
That doesn’t sound like someone who makes good decisions. That’s not a player who has football at the top of his priority list.
Everyone makes mistakes. That’s a given. But the Broncos shouldn’t excuse Gordon’s latest blunder.
It’s time to admit the mistake and move on. The Melvin Gordon era in Denver should end sooner rather than later.
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