Not too long ago, the Broncos appeared to have their backfield set; it was just the other areas they needed to address.
Things have since changed in Denver. Philip Lindsay remains as a promising scatback and Royce Freeman is still there as the larger ball-carrier, too, but the Broncos couldn’t pass up on a chance to add a Pro Bowl talent.
That’s why Melvin Gordon is now in navy and orange, which could change everything for Denver, especially for Lindsay. Lindsay and Broncos coach Vic Fangio spoke Monday, according to the coach, who said the running back is "a motivated player that won’t just give away carries or snaps" and the coach expects Lindsay to compete accordingly — as does the RB.
Broncos general manager John Elway said during a Tuesday conference call he’s had conversations with Lindsay’s agent, but doesn’t know if that exactly means something will get done, per NFL Network’s James Palmer.
With a new threat in the building and Lindsay coming off consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, it might be a good time to negotiate some security for the former undrafted free agent. Lindsay is entering the final year of his three-year contract, which will pay him less than $2 million in total. Lindsay has undoubtedly outperformed such a deal, but the addition of Gordon makes a new agreement less than certain.
The Broncos were able to add Gordon on a relatively low-risk deal this offseason because his stock tanked along with the rest of the Chargers in 2019. Gordon posted a sub-4 yards-per-carry average in 12 games, scoring nine total touchdowns (eight rushing, one receiving) but he struggled to reach a full sprint, getting off to a slow start because of a prolonged holdout that saw him miss the first four games of the season.
Austin Ekeler thrived in his place and when Gordon returned, he struggled to regain his form as a versatile weapon the Chargers utilized plenty in past successful seasons. Gordon even admitted last week if he could do things over, he wouldn’t have held out.
Los Angeles allowed Gordon to walk to a division rival, where he signed a contract that was reportedly for around $2 million less per year than the offer he refused to sign a year ago.
The Broncos were happy to get him on their squad, especially at a team-friendly number.
"I just think the guy’s a good football player, and anytime you can add a good football player … it’s always a good thing to do," Fangio said, via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala.
As for what that means for Lindsay, perhaps the Broncos’ front office has set the two up to settle it on the field. Considering Lindsay’s history — he was a star running back at Colorado but was completely overlooked in the pre-draft process because of his size, not even receiving an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine — he’s built for such a challenge. And for Gordon, 2019 gave him all the motivation he needed.
From Denver’s perspective, what they’ve assembled could produce quite a ground game. We’ll see how it unfolds in 2020 and beyond.
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