Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon blinked.
Gordon will report to the Chargers on Thursday and put an end to his holdout, various news sources have stated. The Cleveland Plain Dealer was the first to report that Gordon, who has missed the first three games after skipping training camp, is returning to the Chargers.
Gordon, who was scheduled to receive $5.6 million in the final year of his rookie contract, had held out for an average salary in the $12 million-$14 million range.
The Chargers balked at that request, countering with an offer of about $10 million a year. But that didn’t satisfy Gordon, a two-time Pro Bowler, and the Chargers dug in by taking their deal off the table on the eve of the season.
The Chargers had given Gordon’s representatives permission to seek a trade, but they were unable to present a proposal to the team’s liking.
Despite the Chargers’ uneven offensive performances in losing two of their first three games, the versatile Gordon isn’t expected to play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
“You can run and do all the drills you want but it’s hard to simulate real football,’’ coach Anthony Lynn told the media on Wednesday.
Now the Chargers and Gordon have to decipher how much of the fines Gordon has accumulated must be paid. If abiding by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Gordon could be docked $330,000 for each of the three games he missed and $30,000 per day.
If past experiences regarding the Chargers and their disgruntled players are considered, L.A. will likely demand the roughly $2.5 million in fines to be accounted for.
While Gordon was out Austin Ekeler filled in and rushed for two touchdowns and 160 yards. He added two scores and 208 yards on 19 receptions.
The Chargers, losers of two straight, are ranked No. 13 rushing in the NFL with a 112-yard, per-game average. Overall, they are tied for fifth in averaging 408.3 yards per game.
Gordon would give a considerable boost to the Chargers’ offense, especially considering the trouble of late its had in protecting quarterback Philip Rivers. The threat of an explosive running game and a shifty receiver coming out of the backfield, two things that Gordon delivers, could take some heat off the 37-year-old Rivers.
Gordon could also be inactive for the game against the visiting Denver Broncos after the Miami trip. The Chargers will have a two-week roster exemption at their disposal with Gordon once he reports.
There’s speculation that the damage done over Gordon’s holdout will make this his final year with the Chargers. But the team could designate him with the franchise tag next season, although the cost and salary cap implications for a one-year deal might be too high to consider.
Gordon, a former first-round pick out of Wisconsin, has 38 touchdowns in the last three years, with 28 of them rushing.