Melvin Gordon has made two things very clear recently: he wants to be a Charger, and he wants a contract extension that will pay him like a top NFL back. Those two things appear to be in conflict with one another at the moment as Gordon has felt it necessary to demand the deal get done or to send him somewhere else.
This is now the second straight year where a star running back and his team are at odds over a contract prior to the start of the season. Last season, Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Le'Veon Bell, famously sat out the entire season rather than playing on the franchise tag. His teammates, particularly the men who used to block for him, expressed frustration over Bell's lack of communication that resulted in their belief that he would be out there with them for the week one game against the Browns. According to Gordon, in a recent ESPN interview, this will not be the case should he decide to holdout and miss games. Here is an excerpt from that interview:
They're all behind me. They all got my back...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.
That feeling of support is added leverage to Gordon in these negotiations. No one has ever questioned him as an excellent teammate. So, if his guys weren't behind him, that could have gone in Tom Telesco's favor.
Gordon's teammates are not the only ones who have his back - his running back peers do as well.
A lot of running backs have reached out to me just saying go out and get what you deserve...A lot. A lot of starters. A lot, a lot of backs.
This is no surprise. Those same running backs lending their support to Gordon are likely approaching a similar contract battle with their respective teams. If Gordon wins out, it means more money in their pockets as well.
In the interview, Gordon again stressed that he wants to be a Charger, but the final quote referenced in the ESPN article has an ominous feel to it. Right after saying, "...they know what I want, so we're just going to see what happens." Gordon seemed to prepare the Chargers' fanbase for a potential hold out, "I'm prepared to do what I got to do, but like I said, I hope it doesn't come to that..."
I firmly believe that Gordon wants to remain a Charger, but it is clearly not his top priority in these negotiations. The more that comes out about this situation, the more I'm thinking this is going to end with Gordon wearing a new uniform.