Melvin Gordon has officially fumbled his way out of Denver.
The Broncos announced on Monday that they have waived the veteran running back after Gordon struggled to protect the football throughout the season. The straw that seemingly broke the club's back came in their overtime loss to the Raiders on Sunday. In the closing seconds of the first half, Gordon took a third-and-1 carry from the Las Vegas 5-yard line up the right side and coughed up the ball. Gordon did seem to have enough to pick up the first down, but the fumble was recovered by Denver behind the line of scrimmage, making it fourth down. Then, the ensuing field goal attempt was blocked.
So, a drive that was knocking on the door of the end zone resulted in zero points. In a game that required overtime, that exceeded Denver's margin for error and contributed to their seventh loss of the season.
"In that situation, he's got to be smart with it and he can't fumble," head coach Nathaniel Hackett said after the game, via The Denver Post. "He knows that. You just can't do that. It's unacceptable. We've got to find a way to get the ball in the end zone."
Denver started the 2022 campaign with Gordon as their backup running back to Javonte Williams. Once Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury, Gordon was thrust into a bigger role in the backfield and had been largely underwhelming. Since ascending to the starting role in Week 5, Gordon has averaged just 3.4 yards per carry and totaled 179 yards total on the ground. He's also caught 17 passes for 174 yards. Through 10 games played, Gordon has fumbled five times (two lost).
Gordon has been with the Broncos dating back to 2020 when he signed a two-year deal with that club that spring. Before this season, he has rushed for at least 900 yards and eight touchdowns in his first two campaigns but has fallen off in 2022 and those fumbles ultimately led to his demise in Denver. If he goes unclaimed on waivers, he'll then become a free agent.
As for the Broncos, Latavius Murray is the leading candidate to start as Chase Edmonds reportedly suffered a high-ankle sprain on Sunday and is expected to miss a few weeks. Veteran back Marlon Mack is also on the Broncos 53-man roster.