Melvin Gordon
Melvin Gordon isn’t worth a mega contract extension (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Melvin Gordon is holding out of Chargers camp looking for a new contract. He isn’t the only running back doing this as Ezekiel Elliott is doing the same. I’m on record for saying that Zeke deserves a new deal. He makes that Dallas offense go. Melvin Gordon is a great back. No question… but does he make the Chargers offense go? The data suggests otherwise. Melvin Gordon doesn’t deserve a mega contract extension.

Melvin Gordon is a great player. He might be one of the five best running backs in football. However, when Gordon isn’t on the field, the Chargers don’t miss him. In fact, they are actually more productive when Austin Ekeler plays instead. During the 2018 season when Gordon is on the field for LA, the offense produces 5.89 yards per play. When Gordon sits, the offense produces… 5.89 yards per play. WHAT? Couldn’t make it up if I tried. Okay, what about Ekeler? Well, when Ekeler is on the field, the Chargers offense records 6.25 yards per play. When Ekeler sits, the yards per play mark slides down to 5.69.

Okay, maybe this is just one piece of data. Could Ekeler provide similar production in a starting role? Maybe not. Still, the Chargers don’t miss Gordon when he sits. It gets worse. The advanced stats don’t seem to favor Gordon either.

  • Early-down success rate on runs: Ekeler 35% – Gordon 26%
  • Success rate on all runs: Ekeler 35%, Gordon 28%
  • Success rate on all targets: Ekeler 45%, Gordon 35% –
  • Success rate on all opportunities: Ekeler 39%, Gordon 29%

Over the past two years, Ekeler has averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 10.3 yards per catch. Gordon has never reached those numbers in any of his 4 career seasons. I’m not saying Ekeler is better than Gordon. What I am saying is the Chargers don’t seem to miss Gordon when he sits. Justin Jackson wasn’t too shabby either averaging 4.1 yards per carry as a rookie.

If I’m the Chargers, I explore trading Gordon. Again, it’s not because Gordon isn’t great. It’s because he is replaceable. Ezekiel Elliott is not. How valuable is Melvin Gordon? Can Ekeler be 90 percent of him in a larger role? If so, you have your answer. I also have a quarterback in Philip Rivers that can move the ball regardless of a dominant run game. Dak Prescott cannot. Melvin Gordon isnt worth a mega contract extension.