The 2022 NFL free agency period has been running at a furious pace. As players continue to sign during free agency, predictions for RB Melvin Gordon continue to be discussed. Which teams in need of additional running back help could benefit from acquiring Gordon in free agency?
Predictions for Melvin Gordon in 2022 NFL free agency
After spending his first five seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, Gordon signed with the Denver Broncos before the 2020 season. In his two years with the team, Gordon was one of the better running backs in the NFL. In 2020, Gordon recorded 1,144 yards and 10 total touchdowns on 247 touches. He had the backfield to himself and thrived. Things changed in 2021 for Gordon, who found himself in a crowded backfield.
During the 2021 NFL Draft, the Broncos used their second-round pick on a wrecking ball out of North Carolina in Javonte Williams. It was as pure a 50/50 as you could get on the ground. Both Gordon and Williams carried the ball 203 times each. However, Gordon outrushed the rookie by a whopping 15 yards (918) and doubled his touchdowns 8 to 4.
Williams edged out his teammate through the air, catching 43 of 53 targets for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns compared to Gordon’s 28 catches (38 targets), 213 yards, and 2 touchdowns. It was the first time in Gordon’s career he had fewer than 40 targets or 30 receptions.
According to Spotrac, the soon-to-be 29-year-old RB has an estimated market value of $5.2 million on a one-year deal. With the second wave of free agency heating up, Gordon is the top-ranked RB still available. It all depends on whether or not Gordon still wants to be a featured back. With that said, there is no shortage of predictions on where Gordon will play in 2022.
From a scheme fit, this makes all the sense in the world. The NFL is at a point where it values a committee more than a singular three-down running back. It’s fresher legs for longer and helps to get both running back through the arduous 17-game season. Gordon and Williams were a fantastic duo last year, much to the dismay of fantasy managers.
Gordon himself has even stated himself there is unfinished business in Denver. I am sure that it didn’t hurt seeing Russell Wilson come to town. Gordon was a freshman in 2012 at the University of Wisconsin when Wilson was the starting QB after transferring from NC State.
The issue is Gordon wants to be a featured back and knows Denver wants that role to be Williams’ spot eventually. Given how the Broncos have positioned themselves in the AFC West, is he willing to come back?
Which matters more to Gordon at this stage of his career — winning or being the No. 1 guy in town? Because if he signs with the Texans as some have predicted, Gordon is choosing the latter. Look at the Texans’ depth chart, and it is clear they need running back help. Houston’s backfield currently consists of Rex Burkhead, Dare Ogunbowale, and Royce Freeman. That’s not exactly a confidence-inspiring lineup.
Houston needs a running back who can generate yards when they aren’t there, one who can make something out of nothing. It is something they struggled to do as a team, coming in dead last in rushing yards 2021 (83.64 per game), touchdowns (8), and yards per carry (3.4). Gordon could step up and see 200+ carries while helping to take some of the burden off QB Davis Mills. Houston could be a prime destination if Gordon wants to be a featured RB.
Atlanta is another team where Gordon could go if he prioritizes stats over winning. The Falcons, despite what they publically say, are rebuilding. This became evident after losing out on Deshaun Watson, they traded away Matt Ryan after 14 years with the team to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a third-round pick.
Along with the trade came the largest dead cap hit in NFL history of $40.5 million, pushing the 2022 dead cap total to a whopping $62.09 million.
While they did re-sign do-it-all WR/RB Cordarrelle Patterson, the Falcons desperately need playmakers to pair with QB Marcus Mariota. Mike Davis was largely ineffective and disappointed, which was surprising given his success in Carolina. Damien Williams is an interesting addition, but the backfield is far from finalized. Gordon makes a ton of sense here. He could be the RB1 with Patterson utilized all over the field as a weapon.
What if Patterson is not the same player we saw last year? After all, he had almost as many touches in 2021 (205) as he did in the four previous seasons combined (220). He is 31, and Father Time is undefeated. Gordon would be a prime candidate to sign during free agency and give the Falcons a much-needed offensive boost.