The Chargers officially exercised Gordon's fifth-year contract option Wednesday. Gordon's mark of 3.9 yards per carry last season doesn't jump off the page, but he did rank among the league leaders in volume, rushing 284 times and snaring 58 passes. Only Le'Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy and Todd Gurley handled more touches than Gordon, who had minimal help late in the season after Austin Ekeler suffered a broken left hand. The Chargers didn't invest much in their backfield during the draft or free agency, merely adding seventh-round pick Justin Jackson. Given the likelihood of another large workload this upcoming season, Gordon probably doesn't mind having his 2019 salary guaranteed for injury under the terms of the fifth-year option. This does, however, give the Chargers some leverage in negotiations on a contract extension, as the fifth-year option salary will probably look like a modest bargain if Gordon makes it through 2018 relatively unscathed.
The Chargers are slated to pick up Gordon's fifth-year option, a move that would keep the 25-year-old under contract with the team through the 2019 season, the Los Angeles Times reports. Gordon logged 284 carries for 1,105 yards and eight rushing TDs in 16 games last season, while adding 58 catches for 476 yards and four receiving scores. The 2015 first-rounder remains firmly atop the Chargers' running back depth chart, with Austin Ekeler and Russell Hansbrough also under contract with the team. Given that context, it's inevitable that depth at the position will be added, either through this week's draft or via free agency, with the likes of C.J. Anderson, DeMarco Murray and Alfred Morris all still looking for new teams.
The Chargers may look to acquire another running back during the offseason in an effort to manage Gordon's workload, ESPN's Eric D. Williams reports. Despite the emergence of undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler, who finished his first campaign with 539 total yards and five touchdowns, Williams suggests the Chargers might be eager to acquire another backup more along the lines of an "early-down bruiser", presumably to spell Gordon in short-yardage situations. While Gordon did cross the 1,000-yard rushing threshold for the first time in his career, he once again failed to average more than four yards per carry, joining Leonard Fournette as the only other player in 2017 to rush for 1,000 or more yards and not reach the aforementioned average. We'll learn more about the Chargers' offseason plans in May, when the team must decide whether to pick up Gordon's fifth-year option. Should it do that, the 2015 first-round pick will be slated to accrue just over $10 million in 2019, likely setting the stage for a potential multi-year contract down the road.
Gordon (ankle) carried the ball 17 times for 93 yards and also caught six of his seven targets for 31 yards in the 30-10 shellacking of the Raiders on Sunday. You couldn't tell Gordon was limited in practice all week with a sprained ankle, as the third-year running back posted his second highest yards-per-carry average (5.5) of 2017 in a dominating performance to close the season. While the 24-year-old missed out on averaging at least four yards-per-carry for a third consecutive season, Gordon did cross the 1,000-yard threshold for the first time in his career, and also set a career-high in receptions and receiving yards. The do-it-all running back appears to be entering his prime, and in an offense hellbent on featuring its running back both on the ground and through the air, Gordon's projected usage rate will once again have him slotted among the first handful of picks in fantasy drafts come the new campaign.
Gordon (ankle) is active for Sunday's game against the Raiders. After Gordon sprained his left ankle in the 14-7 win over the Jets in Week 16, it initially didn't appear promising that he would be able to make it back in time for the regular-season finale, but he received the green light after logging limited practice sessions Thursday and Friday. Though Gordon incurred no issues in pregame warmups, there's still some concern regarding how long he'll able to hold up Sunday due to the ankle injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. With that in mind, Branden Oliver, the team's only healthy backup running back, could be pressed into extended action if Gordon suffers a mid-game setback.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||Kansas City Chiefs||20||17.76|
|3||09/23||@Los Angeles Rams||27||19.00|
|4||09/30||San Francisco 49ers||19||17.75|
|15||12/14||@Kansas City Chiefs||20||17.76|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||241||914||6||44||362||2||171|