Even with Cordarrelle Patterson and James Conner returning to their respective teams in free agency, there are plenty of quality options still available in the open market for teams in need of running back help. One the Jacksonville Jaguars should consider is Melvin Gordon, who last played for the Denver Broncos.
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently drew up a list of bargain-bin free agents that could still help NFL teams in 2022 Gordon’s name came up. While he believes the running back would be a good fit with the Houston Texans, the Jaguars should kick the tires on him. Knox notes that the running back’s estimated value is set at $5.2 million annually, which is a fair amount when you take into account that he’s got a proven track record.
"Last season with Denver, Gordon rushed for 918 yards and 4.5 yards per carry. He also caught 28 passes for 213 yards and scored 10 total touchdowns. In seven seasons, Gordon has tallied 6,144 rushing yards, 2,244 receiving yards, and two Pro Bowl appearances. While best-suited for a complementary role—which he served in alongside Javonte Williams last year—Gordon can be a difference-maker. A return to Denver would make a lot of sense. He would also be a great pickup for the Houston Texans."
While Gordon has never been an All-Pro running back, he’s been pretty productive throughout his NFL career. A first-round pick by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2015, the Wisconsin product was offered a long-term deal that would pay him more than $10 million per year in 2019 but opted to hold out. The Bolts’ brass didn’t cave in to his salary demands and he ended up signing a two-year deal worth $16 million with the Broncos in 2020. It’s unlikely that he will get that kind of contract once again, especially two weeks into free agency.
The Jaguars could use a running back like Melvin Gordon.
James Robinson was one of the best running backs in the NFL in the first half of the 2021 season but injuries and Urban Meyer’s questionable decision to bench him slowed him down in the second half. To make matters worse, he tore his Achilles in Week 16 and may not be ready for the start of the 2022 campaign.
Also, Travis Etienne missed his rookie campaign after sustaining a Lisfranc injury in the first game of last year’s reasons. He’s a good bet to be available for the Jags’ organized team activities but even if he’s fully healthy, the team’s brass needs to add depth to their backfield. Gordon wouldn’t command top-market compensation, and there doesn’t seem much demand for his services. Otherwise, he would’ve already signed with a team. In fact, it’ll probably be difficult for him to strike a long-term deal, and might need to settle on a one-year deal.
The Jaguars could use a running back of Gordon’s caliber. He would certainly prefer a featured role but he won’t probably get it. He would be the perfect compliment to Etienne and his presence would afford Robinson the chance to fully recover.
The Jaguars might be done signing players in free agency but they still have enough cap space left to add someone else. If they want to add a running back before the draft, they should give Melvin Gordon a call.