Melvin Gordon has been a very familiar face for Kansas City Chiefs fans given his perennial presence in the AFC West for the past eight seasons. Whether he was with the San Diego-turned-L.A. Chargers or the Denver Broncos, Gordon was a recognizable rival twice each year.
On Monday, the Broncos decided to cut ties with the veteran running back, which brings up the question: Should the Chiefs make a move for Gordon? Just know that the answer should be “no”
For those who scoff at the very idea from the outset, Chiefs Kingdom should at least realize there are reasons to consider it—at least positionally. On Sunday, the Chiefs watched Clyde Edwards-Helaire leave with an ankle sprain and it’s quite possible that he ends up missing a decent amount of time. That leaves the backfield a little thin.
The Denver Broncos decided to cut ties with Melvin Gordon to start the week, but the Chiefs should avoid any thoughts of adding him.
For those who want to see Ronald Jones activated on Sundays instead of left to rot among inactive players, it’s also true that the Chiefs haven’t been all that motivated to make that move. Some things just aren’t made public, and there’s something keeping Jones around but not involved.
Even if you like Jones, the truth is that the Chiefs put in a waiver claim for former Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin. While it failed due to their place in the claiming order, it signaled an interest on the part of the Chiefs’ front office in improving the backfield if the right candidate came along—even beyond the guys already on the roster like Jones or Wayne Gallman.
So maybe there’s a remaining interest to make a move at running back, and perhaps even moreso with Edwards-Helaire’s injury. However, that doesn’t mean a move to sign Gordon is the right one.
First, Gordon, at this stage, is already 29 years old with his best years clearly behind him. This year he’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry with a longest rush of only 17 yards. He’s also putting up career-low totals in yards gained past first contact with only 1.6. While he’s been limited in his carries this year (averaging a career low 9 carries per game), he’s past his prime and the Broncos learned the hard way that it was past time to move on.
The part that really stung the Broncos was that Gordon’s penchant for fumbles is worse than ever in ’22. Gordon has never exactly been a lock to hold onto the football—he’s had at least 3 fumbles in each of the last four seasons and he’s already up to 5 this year in that same limited usage. Consider this: Gordon’s career high is 6 fumbles on 217 touches in his rookie year. He’s now one off of that with only 115 total touches in ’22. Yikes!
Even as a pass catcher, Gordon is dropping catches at a higher rate than ever before, yet another sign he’s less effective overall than ever. With his anemic output as a rusher and given the lack of trust any team could have in him as a weapon, the market for Gordon should be next to nothing at this stage in his career.
We might see the Chiefs make a move at running back once more details emerge about the severity of Edwards-Helaire’s injury. That said, Kansas City would be much better off promoting Ronald Jones or even visiting with other free agent options than they would signing Gordon to join his third team in the AFC West. A change-of-scenery makes sense for a younger player who could take to new coaching. As for Gordon, his effectiveness at the NFL level has come and gone.