Melvin Gordon became frustrated with what he was offered during contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Chargers and decided to speed up the process by giving the team an ultimatum: give him the extension he desires or trade him. This caused some backlash from many in Chargers Nation who felt like the star running back betrayed the team.
Before we are too hard on Melvin Gordon, it is important that we look at this from his perspective. He recently saw top backs such as Todd Gurley and Le'Veon Bell cash in big with four-year $13+ million a year contracts. Melvin Gordon is set to make a little over $5.5 million in 2019. So, based on what other star backs have gotten, it makes sense that Gordon feels entitled to a raise.
He also saw another star player, Earl Thomas, break his leg while playing on the final year of his deal (like Gordon). The injury could have cost Thomas millions. He later signed a 4-year $55 million deal (with $32 million guaranteed) with the Ravens. So, he ended up being taken care of, but the injury scare illustrates perfectly the urgency these players feel in getting the security of a multi-year deal done before the end of their current contract. While holdouts are frustrating for fans, the Earl Thomas situation is a perfect example for why they happen. Players know that their injury history will be used against them in contract negotiations.
Melvin Gordon knows what he can get and is feeling the urgency to get it, thus the ultimatum. A common, and perfectly understandable, comment that I've seen from fans is that Gordon should, for the good of the team, take a discount so that cap space is saved and the team could be better. This sounds reasonable to anyone not in Melvin Gordon's situation. I can't say that I would take a discount for the good of the company if I knew my peers were making 40% more.
So, I understand why Gordon wants the big money, and I understand why he is willing to hold-out/demand a trade to make it happen now. What I don't understand is why a team would give it to him. I explained my thoughts on a Melvin Gordon extension a few days before the announcement of his ultimatum, but those thoughts are not specific to Gordon. There are about 30 other starting running backs in the league that I would feel the same way about. Running backs have proven to be a replaceable position, and with rookie contracts a fraction of what those like Bell and Gurley are getting, the math doesn't really make sense.
I believe Gordon when he says he wants to stay with the Chargers, but his desire to get paid is stronger, and I don't necessarily blame him for that. I would prefer that he stay with the Chargers too, but not at the price he wants. I still genuinely wish him the best. I even hope he gets paid. I just, for the good of the franchise, hope it's somewhere other than LA.