Los Angeles Chargers: The only instance that Melvin Gordon returns

The Los Angeles Chargers may undergo some big changes this offseason, which could include losing the likes of running back Melvin Gordon.

This offseason presents a fork in the road for the Los Angeles Chargers. After being one of the best teams in the league two years ago and falling flat last season, this offseason will determine if the Chargers will contend again or if they will fall back into the void of mediocrity.

The biggest question of the offseason is one that has not been asked in quite some time: who is going to be the quarterback of the Chargers next season? Philip Rivers is an unrestricted free agent and based on his play last season and the direction of the franchise, chances are that Rivers will no longer be wearing powder blue.

Along with Rivers is another big name that could be leaving Los Angeles — Melvin Gordon. Gordon does not nearly have the franchise-presence that Rivers has but he is one of the best running backs in the league when he is firing on all cylinders and is someone who was viewed as a foundational piece of the franchise moving forward.

Gordon held out to start the 2019 season while asking for a new contract and eventually came back into the fold in Week 5. Now, Gordon is an unrestricted free agent, but based on what has happened to other running backs that have gotten big contracts, such as Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell, he probably won’t get the contract that he wants.

This seemingly plays into the Chargers’ hand as they have familiarity with Gordon and that reported $10 million per season offer from the holdout looks all the more enticing. However, despite the advantage that the Chargers seemingly have, there is only one reality that will lead to the team bringing Gordon back.

And that is if the team also brings Philip Rivers back on a short-term contract.

There are two other routes that the Chargers can go aside from signing Rivers. First would be to bring in another experienced quarterback, who many believe will be Tom Brady. Brady, although he will also be a short-term option, is likely going to get a higher salary than Rivers and will restrict the team from having the spending power to go after Gordon.

Plus, Austin Ekeler is the quintessential Tom Brady running back, they would not really even need Gordon as Ekeler and Brady go together like peanut butter and jelly.

The other route is for the team to draft a quarterback, preferably in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. And while the team would have the cap space to sign Gordon with a rookie quarterback under contract, that is not where the spending should go.

If the Chargers go the way of a rookie quarterback then any remaining cap space has to be spent on improving the offensive line. That was the biggest weakness of the team, which led to Rivers’ downfall, which led to the countless turnovers and losses.

If the Los Angeles Chargers were to re-sign Rivers, though, it likely would not be for that high of a salary after his poor performance last season. The team would have enough to bring Gordon back on a four-year deal and then could use the early stages of the NFL Draft to bolster the line.

The sixth-overall pick could be used on a tackle, which would be a huge improvement, and the Chargers could even double-down with a second or third-round selection of an offensive lineman as well.

Could the Los Angeles Chargers re-sign Gordon with a rookie quarterback? Absolutely, they would have the spending to do so. However, that might sacrifice any big improvements to the offensive line, which would give that rookie quarterback a very rude awakening to the NFL.

Next: Current quarterback options that are better than Tom Brady

Regardless of where he goes, Melvin Gordon definitely does have a lot left in the tank and showed some brilliant flashes in the 2019 NFL season.