We usually have to wait until the NFL Draft starts to have our hearts broken, but that came a couple of days early this year as Denver brought back Melvin Gordon on a one-year deal, potentially throwing a nice bucket of cold water on the value of Javonte Williams in the process. There has been smoke this has been in the works for quite some time, but now that it’s official, let’s run down the players affected by the signing.
Melvin Gordon, RB DEN
Over his seven years in the NFL, Gordon has been a moderately productive runner, rushing for 6,144 yards and 53 touchdowns, while also adding 284 catches for 2,244 receiving yards and 14 additional scores in his stops with the Chargers and Broncos. While he never quite fulfilled the promise many had hoped he would when he came out of Wisconsin, he’s still carved himself out a pretty nice career.
Gordon will return to Denver where he had 918 yards and eight scores, while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. The challenge for Gordon is the existence of Javonte Williams, who had 903 rushing yards and 316 receiving yards of his own last season. Having both backs in the fold will be great for the Broncos, but it’s also going to cap the potential of both of these runners should they both stay healthy. The smart money is on Gordon becoming more of the 1B than the 1A he was last season and his numbers are likely going to suffer a bit. Now 29, expect Gordon’s ADP to continue to slip as a result. However, he still does make for a cheap target for a contending team. You could still likely fetch him for a second or third round draft pick. Still, it’s a disappointing outcome as Gordon could have been more productive elsewhere.
Javonte Williams, RB DEN
Talk about a buzzkill. Williams’ ranking and ADP have been climbing all off-season in the hopes Gordon would bolt in free agency. With that now in the rearview mirror, the climb has reached its top. However, dynasty owners shouldn’t go into panic mode and sell Williams on the cheap. While this is a frustrating development, Gordon is only a one-year deal and Williams has shown enough to merit more work moving forward. While he doesn’t look like a locked-in first round startup pick at this point, this could also open up a nice window to acquire him cheaply. With Gordon on a one-year deal, it’s highly likely dynasty managers are in the same spot next year, hoping Williams is given the chance to be a full-time bona fide workhorse. He’s still worth more than any rookie pick this season.
There was some sleeper appeal with Boone prior to Gordon agreeing to be back in the fold. With him back, it’s tough to see Boone (or any other Denver running back) as being anything more than a deep stash.
Russell Wilson, QB DEN
The Broncos sure do look like they want to let Russ cook this year. While the re-addition of Gordon certainly gives Denver yet another weapon, this offense is going to be built around Wilson and his ability to throw the ball. On the plus side, having two good running backs should ensure defenses don’t completely sell out on the pass, even if one of them was to get hurt. Russ will cook and things are going to get pretty exciting in Mile High this season.
Draft Running Backs
With Gordon back in the mix, it’s pretty unlikely the Broncos add another running back over the weekend. It’s clear Denver liked the prospect of paying Gordon on a one-year deal than burning draft capital on one in the draft. If they were to add someone, it’s fair to say this will be Gordon’s last year in Denver.
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