Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon's reported return makes AFC life tougher for Raiders

melvingordondoingfootballstuffusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Melvin Gordon's reported return makes AFC life tougher for Raiders

In the end, common sense won out. 

After sitting out all of training camp and the first three weeks of the season in search of a new contract he never was going to get, running back Melvin Gordon will end his holdout and return to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.

Gordon was expected to return before the Chargers and Raiders meet in Week 10, but his decision to come back and help the Bolts after just three weeks makes life in the tough AFC West even more difficult for coach Jon Gruden's club. 

After opening the season with a win over the Denver Broncos, the Raiders' offense has stalled and the defense has been ravaged by injuries, leading to a disappointing 1-2 start. With the Raiders set to spend the next four weeks on the road with a bye in the middle, the 1-2 start put them at an early season crossroads as they prepare to face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4. 

However, there was an early silver lining as just six AFC teams sit at above .500 after three weeks. 

The Chargers are not one of those teams. 

The uber-talented Bolts opened the season with a win over the Colts, but then gave the Lions a win in Week 2 and tripped over themselves in classic Chargers fashion during a Week 3 loss to the Texans. 

L.A. has struggled to run the ball over the last two weeks, but Gordon's return obviously changes the dynamic of their team. The Bolts were going to have no issue against the Dolphins in Week 4, regardless if Gordon plays or not, but getting him back in the fold this early should put their season back on track. 

The Chargers always were expected to be a playoff team and potential Super Bowl contenders. But their 1-2 start, along with the Browns, Titans and Steelers stumbling out of the gate (the 0-3 Steelers are toast) did appear to give the Raiders some outside hope of making a playoff run should they figure out their own issues fast. 

You can pencil in the Patriots and Chiefs for the playoffs unless there's a catastrophic injury. The Ravens appear to be the class of the AFC North, while the Colts, Texans and Titans are destined to beat each other up in the AFC South. The wild-card picture likely will include the Chargers, the other two AFC South teams, and potentially the Browns and Bills. The Raiders believe they have the talent to also be in that discussion. Gordon's return makes all hope of the Chargers continuing to stumble evaporate and puts the Raiders (optimistically) back in the category of fringe playoff team vying for the final spot.

[RELATED: Carr facing lose-lose situation with his critics

With Gordon back in the fold, the Chargers are working their way back to full strength and will be 2-2, barring an epic faceplant in Miami, making the Raiders' trip to Indy all the more important, as keeping pace with the Chargers guarantees Oakland still can dream of having playoff hopes. 

Gordon's return makes the reality of sticking with L.A. all the more difficult. 

Melvin Gordon not a fit for 49ers in wake of Tevin Coleman ankle injury

Melvin Gordon not a fit for 49ers in wake of Tevin Coleman ankle injury

49ers running back Tevin Coleman suffered a left ankle injury in the first half of their 31-17 Week 1 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday and did not return. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan admitted he was "concerned" about the injury, and that Coleman would undergo an MRI on Monday.

Coleman, of course, signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the 49ers in the offseason, well before some higher profile backs like Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon dominated the storylines with their contract-related holdouts.

Elliott reached an agreement on an extension with the Cowboys last week, in time for him to suit up for their Week 1 game. Gordon, however, remains steadfast in his insistence that he will not play for the Chargers this season until he gets a more lucrative contract. He is not currently with the team.

So, if Coleman is forced to miss an extended period of time, would San Francisco consider trading for Gordon?

The Wisconsin product's talent is undeniable. Gordon has topped 1,375 yards from scrimmage in each of the last three seasons, totaling 38 total touchdowns over that span while being named to two Pro Bowls. But, simply put, he is not a fit for the 49ers' roster, regardless of whether or not Coleman misses any time.

For one, San Francisco already is spending a boatload on the running back position. Between Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jerick McKinnon, the 49ers have allocated nearly $12 million to running backs this season -- more than 5.1 percent of their total cap -- which ranks as the third-highest total running back salary of any team in the league. And no, that doesn't include fullback Kyle Juszcyzyk, who is making $5.95 million this season.

[RELATED: What we learned about 49ers in season-opening win over Bucs]

If Gordon is holding out from the Chargers despite knowing he won't accrue a year of service -- thereby not getting any closer to free agency -- why would he come to San Francisco when a large payday would not await him there?

More to the point, the 49ers don't need Gordon. Outside of the defensive line, one could argue running back is the deepest position on San Francisco's roster, and that's with Coleman banged up and McKinnon already on season-ending IR. Jeff Wilson, who looked great in the preseason, is sitting there on the 49ers' practice squad. If Coleman is forced to miss an extended period, it is far more likely San Francisco looks to a cheap, internal solution like Wilson than an expensive diva currently putting his own priorities in front of his team's.

NFL rumors: Melvin Gordon plans to play for Chargers before Raiders game

NFL rumors: Melvin Gordon plans to play for Chargers before Raiders game

The Chargers open the 2019 NFL regular season without one of the premier players in the game. Running back Melvin Gordon has continued his holdout in hopes of a new contract. 

But it appears he will be playing this year, right in time for the Raiders. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Gordon plans to report to the Chargers between Week 6 and Week 8. The Raiders face the Chargers in Oakland on Thursday Night Football during Week 10. 

Gordon's return certainly would spell bad news for the Silver and Black. The 26-year-old is a two-time Pro Bowler and scored 14 combined touchdowns last season on the ground and receiving. 

The Raiders last faced Gordon in a 23-22 win over the Chargers at the Coliseum last season, but the running back did his part. Gordon carried the ball 18 times for 93 yards and added another 72 yards on five receptions while scoring one touchdown. 

Earlier this week, Gordon caught Raiders and 49ers' fans attention when he followed both teams on Instagram. But it looks like he'll still play with Philip Rivers and Co. 

[RELATED: Report: Raiders tried to trade AB before releasing him]

There's always free agency, though. 

Gordon must report by Week 10 -- the Raiders game -- to have this season count and qualify for free agency next year. Once he hits the open market next year, Gordon will be looking for a hefty payday.