ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP)The Denver Broncos continued an impressive offseason haul Friday by agreeing to a two-year deal with former Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon.
A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that it’s worth $16 million with all but $2.5 million guaranteed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because terms of the deal weren’t revealed.
The Broncos didn’t announce the deal but did tweet a clip of King Features comic strip character Flash Gordon, which is their new running back’s nickname.
Although his new deal is less than the $10 million annually that Gordon turned down from the Chargers during an unsuccessful holdout for a long-term extension last season, it does allow him the opportunity to face his old team twice a year and to hit free agency again in 2022 at age 28.
His $8 million annual salary also ranks fourth in the NFL among running backs.
Gordon’s arrival bolsters a Denver offense that has stagnated in recent years and which produced just 17.6 points a game in 2019. New offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has set out to install a stronger ground game and push the ball down the field more in the passing game with second-year QB Drew Lock.
Gordon is an ideal fit.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection has three dozen rushing touchdowns over the last four seasons and 47 touchdowns overall. That ranks third in the NFL since 2016, trailing only former Rams running back Todd Gurley (60), who agreed to a deal with Atlanta on Friday, and Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (48).
Gordon, the 15th overall draft pick in 2015 out of Wisconsin, and Phillip Lindsay figure to share the bulk of the workload for the Broncos, who traded fullback Andy Janovich to the Cleveland Browns earlier this week.
General manager John Elway has said he would like to rework Lindsay’s contract following back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons by the back who went undrafted after starring at the University of Colorado. Lindsay is due to make $750,000.
Gordon held out through the first three weeks of the regular season last year and scored nine touchdowns in his return. His former backup, Austin Ekeler, had a breakout season that resulted in a contract extension two weeks ago worth $24.5 million over four years, including $15 million guaranteed.
Gordon averaged only 3.8 yards per carry when he returned last season and totaled 908 scrimmage yards after recording over 1,200 scrimmage yards in three straight seasons from 2016 to ’18. He caught 42 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown.
In five seasons with the Chargers, Gordon rushed for 4,240 yards and caught 224 passes for 1,873 yards.
Elway has been busy this offseason, trading third-day draft picks to plug major holes at cornerback (A.J. Bouye) and defensive tackle (Jurrell Casey) and luring two ex-Lions in free agency: Graham Glasgow and Jeff Driskel. Glasgow replaced oft-injured Ronald Leary at right guard and Driskel is Lock’s new backup and replaces former starter Joe Flacco, whose release Thursday saved the team $10 million.
Also Friday, the Broncos announced they had re-signed cornerback De’Vante Bausby.
Additionally, the team announced it was teaming with the Colorado Legislature, businesses and non-profits in a drive Sunday to collect personal protective equipment for hospitals battling the novel coronaviris pandemic. The groups are collecting donations of such items as gloves, masks and bleach bottles at Empower Field at Mile High.
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