Things were quite duplicitous in the NFL in 2019 when it came to valuing running backs. On one hand, the league saw Ezekiel Elliott opt to hold out of Dallas Cowboys training camp in a push for a contract extension, and he got his wish when the club made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. Elliott never missed a single game, but the same couldn't be said for Melvin Gordon, who attempted the same flex with the Los Angeles Chargers -- only to discover his muscle wasn't nearly as big as Elliott's, value-wise.

The two holdouts might've occurred at the same time by two players of the same position, but they were never truly comparable, and for a variety of reasons. For starters, Elliott is a two-time NFL rushing champ who resides with a team whose offense is designed around him, whereas the Chargers were still very much Philip Rivers' team until 2020. 

In the end, Gordon's holdout extended through Week 4 and eventually saw the Chargers slam the door shut on continued negotiations, instead choosing to lean heavily on backup Austin Ekeler. As Ekeler began to produce at a promising click, the pressure was on Gordon to get back on the field and reassert himself going into NFL free agency. 

Ultimately, Gordon signed a two-year, $16 million contract with $13.5 million guaranteed to become a member of the Denver Broncos. The contract was nothing like Gordon had hoped or expected for when he entered his holdout during the 2019 offseason. Instead, Gordon will hope to build on his career success and establish a new value for the next time he enters the free agent pool. However, those expecting Gordon to eventually get paid should probably consider this -- he will be entering his age-29 season after his contract with the Broncos expires. 

Below, we'll break down Gordon's scouting report, the fantasy fallout in Denver, his free agent timeline and more.

Melvin Gordon

Scouting report on Gordon (pros and cons)


  • Power back with finesse
  • Great overall athleticism (former track & fielder)
  • Solid hands as a receiver out of the backfield
  • High football IQ
  • Good quickness and burst out of cuts
  • Resume includes two Pro Bowl nods
  • No NFL suspensions on record


  • Average straight-line speed
  • Disappears at times in games

Free agent timeline

Fantasy fallout: What Gordon's arrival means for Denver's backfield

Friday, March 20: If you're like me, you're wondering how the Broncos plan to get enough backfield touches for Gordon and incumbent lead back Philip Lindsay. How will this impact Gordon's fantasy value in 2020? How about Lindsay's value? CBS Sports senior fantasy analyst Heath Cummings breaks down everything you need to know about how to approach Denver's backfield for your 2020 fantasy football leagues.

Gordon signs a two-year contract with the Broncos

Friday, March 20: Despite reports linking Gordon to both the Bills and Bucs, he decided to join long-time a Chargers rival with a two-year agreement to join Denver.

Report: Bills, Gordon have mutual interest early in free agency

Thursday, March 19: We know Buffalo could use a Devin Singletary complement, and it seems Buffalo knows it, too. With Gordon reportedly encountering a softer-than-expected market, the Bills have apparently touched base with his representation about a potential deal, and there's reportedly mutual interest. Gordon would fit in nicely as a replacement for Frank Gore.

Hall of Famer predicts Gordon lands with Dolphins in 2020

Thursday, Feb. 20: There's a reason or two the Dolphins marrying Gordon would make perfect sense, and while I've pointed them out above, Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson put his own on the table in a recent interview with NFL Network. If the Dolphins, who fielded a team without a single RB posting more than 201 yards rushing, don't reach out to Gordon -- throw the whole franchise away.

Gordon expects to be back with Chargers

Thursday, Feb. 20: The more he speaks, the more it appears Gordon is truly hellbent on staying put in Los Angeles. That would obviously have to be at a price point he approves but, realistically speaking, he's lowing his price with every utterance of just how much he loves the team and wants to re-sign. They'll use it in their favor, as teams tend to do, much to the dismay of Gordon's agent -- who did him no favors by advising a holdout in the first place.

Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry set to frame RB free agency market

Thursday, Feb. 6: It's a fairly robust market this offseason at the running back position, and while it's nowhere near comparable to that of the quarterbacks, Gordon will have some stiff competition in finding another team that isn't the Chargers. Henry and McCaffrey aside, there are several Tier-B talents like Gordon who need to locate a new home as well, and all of this matters when trying to determine his asking price. 

Gordon 'hopefully' still with Chargers in 2020

Thursday, Jan. 30: Not long after the regular season ended, Gordon began championing his want of remaining with the Chargers, who gave head coach Anthony Lynn a short extension and waved goodbye to eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers. With Rivers gone and the team eyeing their future at that position in the 2020 NFL Draft, stability is much needed wherever it can be had, and keeping Gordon around makes sense. That is, of course, if they don't believe Ekeler will do just fine instead, and at a much lower cost.