Now that the Chargers have set their asking price for Melvin Gordon, which teams could realistically make a deal?
Melvin Gordon is set to hold out into the regular season. The Los Angeles Chargers won’t talk contract extension until after the season, if at all truly. Gordon has been given permission to seek a trade, and Josina Anderson of ESPN reported one team has had preliminary discussions about a deal for the two-time Pro Bowler.
With a seemingly insurmountable gap, from a $10 million per year reported offer to a $13 million per year asking price, Gordon and the Chargers don’t have a long-term future together. Now, the team has set their asking price in a trade.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Los Angeles has told at least one other team the price for Gordon is a first-round pick and a fifth-round pick. Add in the subsequent price of a contract extension for him, let’s just say four or five years in the range of $13 million per year, and the Chargers have set a price tag that will make it hard to get a deal done.
The Chargers know they hold all the leverage, with Gordon unlikely to sit out the season, give up all of his $5.6 million salary for this year and also not get credit for an accrued season with an eye on potential free agency in 2020. The asking price in a trade may just be a starting point, but it’s a high starting point.
After Lamar Miller went down with a knee injury, the Houston Texans could very well have ponied up for Gordon. But they traded for Carlos Hyde, and then gave up their next two first-round picks and a second-round pick in 2021 in the deal with the Miami Dolphins that brought in offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills. So a team that went all-in for 2019 is off the board.
But there is at least one team in some level of trade talks for Gordon, and these teams could realistically make a deal with the Chargers to get him.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the hiring of Bruce Arians as head coach, the Buccaneers naturally moved into a mode of win-now urgency whether they wanted to or not. The league’s fourth-worst rushing attack from last year (95.2 yards per game) was not notably upgraded this offseason, though undrafted rookie Dare Ogunbowale has garnered some positive buzz heading into the season.
The Buccaneers are carrying almost no cap space into this season ($725,549, via Over The Cap). So they’d have some work to do to take on Gordon’s $5.6 million this year, via sending a player back to the Chargers or doing some serious contract restructuring. At first glance, tight end Cameron Brate and his $7 million cap hit for this year could go the other way in a deal.
Tampa Bay’s balance sheet clears out nicely though, with just under $63.2 million in cap space for 2020 right now. So if they can make it work for this year, they can give Gordon the contract he’s looking for and have him fill their most urgent need.