The Buffalo Bills—with their AARP backfield—could certainly use some more juice at the running back position, and with Melvin Gordon demanding to be paid or traded by the Los Angeles Chargers, it opens an opportunity for general manager Brandon Beane to make a move. But should the front office act? How much would this move cost, and is Gordon worth it at this stage of his career?
Melvin Gordon’s health
At the age of 26, Melvin Gordon has carried the ball 897 times, 11 attempts fewer than Le’Veon Bell after his first four years. It’s important to ask how much tread is left on those tires. While it’s true that Gordon has only played one complete season in his four-year career with the Chargers, he has played in at least 12 games every season. He has had some lower leg injuries including a sprained MCL and PCL, and he tore the cartilage in his knee in 2015, forcing him to be placed on injured reserve, but the Bills could be willing to overlook these injury concerns as they do not appear to have had long-term effects. Still, Gordon’s injury history is something Beane would have to keep in mind when considering trading for and signing Gordon.
Gordon’s statistical value
Melvin Gordon has only rushed for over 1,000 yards once in his career, and that was in 2017. His best season was 2018, when he average 5.1 rushing yards per attempt. This marked the first time in his career where he was able to eclipse the four-yards-per-attempt average. In 2018, Gordon rushed for 885 yards with ten rushing touchdowns, and he caught 50 passes for 490 yards and four receiving scores. Gordon is demanding to be paid following his peak season, which is wise, but it could be unwise for a running back-needy team to act out of desperation.
What the Bills would have to trade
It stands to reason that Buffalo would have to ship at least one of their running backs to Los Angeles in a trade for Gordon. Devin Singletary is untouchable as a rookie, and the obvious player to send to the Chargers would be LeSean McCoy, but one has to wonder if McCoy has much value left in the eyes of general managers around the league after his dismal 2018 campaign. It’s possible that Beane would need to send both McCoy and Gore or McCoy and Yeldon to the Chargers to get this deal done. Along with a running back, the Bills would need to offer up a draft pick or two, and it would be a reasonable assumption that the Bills would need to offer up a third- or fourth-round pick along with a later-round pick to secure Gordon.
Melvin Gordon’s new contract
Todd Gurley set the running-back market with his $57.5 million contract, though the Los Angeles Rams are likely questioning that decision with the news of Gurley’s arthritic knees. Le’Veon Bell received a handsome contract from the New York Jets this offseason at $52.5 million, but Gordon has not shown that he is in the same league as these top-end running backs. If Gordon is demanding anything in the ballpark of Bell or Gurley money, he may find himself without a suitor, and the Bills would be unwise to pay that kind of price. Still, the acquisition of Gordon would bring some excitement to the Bills’ offense, and with the ability to front-load a contract because of available salary-cap space, a move on Gordon might be a risk worth taking and a good fit for Beane’s aggressive personnel style.
But what do you think? Should Brandon Beane make a move for Melvin Gordon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!