Here's why the Melvin Gordon situation could get even uglier for the Chargers

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has already threatened to sit out all of training camp if he doesn't get a new deal, but as it turns out, things could actually get uglier for Los Angeles if the two sides don't get a contract done before the start of the regular season. 

During an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio this week, Fletcher Smith (one of Gordon's agents) was asked if his client would be prepared to sit out the entire regular season and based on Smith's answer, it appears that Gordon is going to play some serious hardball in negotiations. 

"Oh, he's prepared to sit," Smith said. "We'll take it day by day, week by week and see how things go, but at this time, if he can't get anything done, he certainly won't be in training camp, and he's prepared to sit as long as he has to."

The Chargers should probably take that threat pretty seriously and that's because it's not the first time Gordon has hinted that he'd be willing to sit out a season in order to get a contract he views as fair. During an interview last year, Gordon was talking about the Le'Veon Bell situation with his dad and the Chargers running back noted that he would also sit out a year if he were ever in a situation similar to Bell's. 

As things currently stand, Gordon is headed into the final year of his rookie deal, which is scheduled to pay him a total of $5.6 million in base salary in 2019. Although it's not clear what Gordon's asking price is in a potential new contract, it's pretty clear the Chargers haven't come anywhere close to meeting it. 

Damarius Bilbo, one of Gordon's other agents, told NFL.com this week that Gordon has felt "disrespected" by the Chargers' offers. 

"If we'd gotten a respectable offer, we wouldn't be here," Bilbo said. "But he felt disrespected. He's very serious."

Gordon is coming off a highly efficient season where he ranked fifth in the NFL in total touchdowns with 14, despite missing four games. Gordon, who finished the season 885 rushing yards, averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2018, which was more than any of the NFL's top three leaders in rushing yards: Ezekiel Elliott (4.7), Saquon Barkley (5.0) and Todd Gurley (4.9). 

Gordon was drafted in 2015, the same year as Gurley and David Johnson, and it kind of sounds like he'd like to get a deal similar to one of those two backs. Gurley received a four-year, $60 million deal in July 2018 while Johnson inked a three-year, $39 million contract in September.  

"I know my value," Gordon said in June. "I know what I bring to this team, and I'm sticking with that. Todd's paid, so Todd don't care what anybody says right now -- him or David Johnson -- they can say what they want to say. They signed the dotted line. But unfortunately I haven't yet, so I've got to take the heat for some of the stuff that they're going through. But I'm not them, and like I said, I know my value."

The fact that the Chargers are hesitant to give Gordon a new deal likely boils down to two things: Teams aren't willing to overpay at the running back position anymore and Gordon has a history of injuries. 

After watching the Gurley situation unfold across town, it's not crazy to think that the Chargers have some doubts about giving a contract to a running back in Gordon who's missed nine games over his first four seasons. 

According to Smith, Gordon's plan is to stay in Los Angeles, but if the Chargers won't give him fair compensation, then the running back wants to be traded. 

"We'll see how it plays out," Smith said. "Maybe he ends up, stays where he is, right there in Los Angeles. There's nothing to suggest that he does not want to be there. He just wants to be compensated. He'd love to stay [with the Chargers], assuming we can get something done. If we can't, he's prepared to move."

The thing about a trade is that there's not a huge market out there of teams looking to overpay for a running back, and Bell's a good example of that. When the former Steelers running back hit free agency, there weren't exactly a lot of teams bidding on his services. In the end, he got a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets that included $27 million in guaranteed money.  

If Gordon's situation does come down to a trade, Smith is confident that there will be at least one team out there willing to give the 26-year-old the contract he's looking for. 

"Some teams are more creative than others. All we need is one team," Smith said. "For those teams that have a running back, but maybe he's not the back that they need, maybe trade a player and a pick. Right now, I don't know, because we have not been empowered to talk to other teams to discuss a trade, but all you need is one trade partner."

With Gordon and the Chargers locked in a stalemate, this seems like a situation that's only going to get uglier as the season approaches. In the end, the Chargers might be forced to do what the Raiders did with Khalil Mack and just trade him away to the highest bidder

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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