No end to Melvin Gordon holdout in sight, whether via new contract with Chargers or trade

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is prepared to take his holdout well into the regular season, sources said, with no progress being made between the sides and the team vowing not to negotiate in-season. The sides have been at an impasse for over a month.

Gordon is seeking a deal in line with what running back David Johnson received from the Cardinals last year (three years, $39 million), but the Chargers were not willing to offer more than $10 million a season. The sides explored the potential of both short-term and long-term deals, but made no headway, sources said. A trade remains an option but the activity to this point has been very limited, with most teams satisfied with theie running back situations and with the value of the position declining in recent years.

The Chargers had been seeking trade value in the range of a first-round pick, sources said, and it does not appear likely they would get close to that. Things can certainly change over the course of a season, and Gordon at this point seems very unlikely to play this month, and possibly much longer. If the Chargers get off to a slow start and suffer from a lack of running back productivity, then perhaps he gains leverage. If injuries strike contending teams in the backfield, then perhaps trade offers increase.

Gordon, a first-round pick in 2015, is beloved by coaches and teammates and someone thought of very highly by the front office as a player and a person. But there has been a fundamental difference in determining his value, and at this point he is set to earn $5.6 million on his fifth-year option. The Chargers would retain his contract rights if he sat out the entire season, and Gordon already cannot earn a year towards free agency after sitting out the preseason. If he does not join the active roster of an NFL team by Nov. 12, then he is ineligible to play anywhere in the league in 2019.

There are significant disincentives in this CBA for Gordon to not return by that date, which comes two weeks after the trade deadline. There is no end in sight right now.

The Chargers can put him on an exempt list for up to three weeks, so to be safe he is on active roster Week 11/Nov 12, he must be back by Week 8.

CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

Join our Free $1,000,000 Parlay Challenge

Our Latest Stories