Denver Broncos: What will happen with Melvin Gordon?

With the selection of Javonte Williams in the 2021 NFL Draft, how does the future look for Broncos’ running back Melvin Gordon?

With the Denver Broncos using a 2nd round pick on Javonte Williams in the 2021 NFL Draft, Melvin Gordon’s future in Denver became cloudy.

I think most would expect him to play and start for the team this year, but not be brought back in free agency.

In my opinion, I think there’s a lot more that will go into Gordon’s future in Denver.

The beginning of the 2020 season brought a lot of hype for Gordon and former Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay, but it was clear that the duo was not meant to coexist.

Lindsay was limited to 11 games in 2020, which allowed Gordon to cement himself as RB1 in Denver.  Fortunately for Gordon, he finished the season strong and came up just shy of 1,000 rushing yards, although he ranked 9th in the league with his total.

Then, in April, the Broncos used a 2nd round draft pick on former UNC running back Javonte Williams, effectively putting a large cloud over Gordon’s future in Denver.

As it stands now, it appears that Gordon will be the starter to begin the season, but it also appears that Williams will soon take over the starting role.

To me, there is so much that can happen with the Broncos’ RB situation.  If Gordon starts the season and plays very well, the team should keep feeding Mel, as long as he produces.

But what if he doesn’t?  And what if the Broncos are competing for a playoff spot?  What if the team is underachieving?  Would Gordon get traded?

For starters, I think the offensive coaching staff is very eager to get Williams as many carries as possible, so I would guess that Gordon does have a smaller leash.  He did have some fumbling issues last year, and if those start again, he would surely be pulled for the rookie.

But what if the Broncos are competing for a playoff spot, and Gordon is contributing?  In that case, he should stay with the team through the season.  The Denver Broncos still have a lot of cap space, so even though Gordon has one year and $8 million left on his deal, the team doesn’t have much of a financial incentive to move him.

Having a running back duo of Gordon/Williams towards the end of the season would surely wreak havoc on defenses.

Not many teams have two talented RBs as Denver does, so if both can prove to coexist, there should be no reason to move on from Gordon at any point during the season if the team is in a playoff race.

This situation I can definitely see happen, but I can also see another situation happen which involves the Broncos underachieving.

You see, if the Broncos are underachieving as the 2021 trade deadline approaches, there are very few reasons to keep Gordon on the team, seeing as it’d be very likely he wouldn’t be re-signed, given the selection of Javonte Williams.

It would make a lot of sense to trade him to a team competing for a playoff spot who could also use more juice on offense.

As an example, the Broncos and 49ers executed a trade around Emmanuel Sanders back in 2019.  The Niners needed more juice on offense, and the Denver Broncos weren’t exactly in a playoff race.

The same thing could happen in 2021, as well, and trading Gordon, in this case, would be a very smart move for the front office, as Gordon could probably fetch a mid-late round draft pick, which is better than simply letting him leave in free agency.

No matter which situation happens, I don’t think Melvin Gordon is part of the Denver Broncos in 2022.  To me, Javonte Williams will eventually be the starter during the 2021 season, and it’s just a matter of when.