Gordon said he is working to diversify his route running, ESPN.com's Eric D. Williams reports.
Gordon caught 99 of 140 targets for 895 yards and six TDs in 29 games the past two seasons, with his talent as an open-field runner making up for a subpar catch rate (70.7 percent) for a running back. He did nice work on screen passes and check downs, but he knows that he needs to become comfortable with a wider array of routes to take another step as a pass catcher. The Chargers surely would appreciate any progress, as they'll need more out of their running backs and wide receivers after losing TE Hunter Henry to a torn ACL. It remains to be seen how passing-down snaps will be divided between Gordon, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, all of whom have shown promise in that capacity.
Gordon's 2017 mark of 3.9 yards per carry doesn't jump off the page, but he did rank among the league leaders in volume, rushing 284 times for 1,105 yards and eight touchdowns, with 58 catches for 476 yards and another four scores. 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 extension negotiations, as the fifth-year option salary will probably look like a modest bargain if Gordon makes it through 2018 relatively unscathed.
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.
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 they 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.
|2015||San Diego Chargers||14||12||184||641||3.5||27||0||6||33|
|2016||San Diego Chargers||13||11||254||997||3.9||48||10||7||61|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||16||284||1105||3.9||87||8||5||58|
|2015||San Diego Chargers||14||12||33||192||5.8||18||0||0||0||8|
|2016||San Diego Chargers||13||11||41||419||10.2||35||2||4||0||21|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||16||58||476||8.2||49||4||4||1||22|
|2015||San Diego Chargers||14||3||3.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||San Diego Chargers||13||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2015||San Diego Chargers||14||6||4||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||San Diego Chargers||13||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||16||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|