Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: July 24, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in fantasy, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

With NFL training camps beginning to open the question seems to be; how many 1st string running backs will be holding out?

Melvin Gordon of the Los Angeles Chargers has already made it clear that he’ll be holding out. Gordon is in the 5th and final year of his rookie contract. He’s schedule to make a little over $5.6 million dollars this season. At that salary Gordon is the 11th highest paid running back in the league.

Gordon has had his share of injuries as he’s missed 8 games in his first four season with the Chargers. You have to wonder how much his injuries might play into a new contract. Even though he’s had some injuries Gordon is a true three down running back and those aren’t easy to find in today’s NFL.

In 12 games last season Gordon carried the football 175 times for 885 yards. He scored 10 rushing touchdowns as well. Gordon also caught 50 passes for 490 yards and added 4 receiving touhdowns. In Gordon’s 225 touches last season he only fumbled the football one time.

It looks like Gordon has a good case to ask for more money, but his salary really isn’t to far out of touch with the other top running backs in the league; so it might be tough for the Chargers to see giving him a raise. If Gordon can go out and have a season as good as last years or better he’d be in line to cash in as a free agent or get tagged by the Chargers. Either way Gordon to make more money starting next season; so I can understand if Los Angeles doesn’t want to renegotiate his current deal for just one season.

The other running back who’s name has come up as possibly holding out is Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys.

Now Elliott is in a different psition than Gordon as he has two years left on his rookie contract. Elliott is scheduled to make a little over $4 million dollars this season, but that number jumps to a little over $9 million dollars next season. So he may be under paid next season, but then it loks like he’ll fall right in line with the other top running backs in final year of his contract.

If Elliott decides to hold out he’ll put the Cowboys in a difficult position as Dallas has some tough calls they’re going to have to make in free agency after the 2019 season. Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper will be the big name Cowboys who will reach free agency after this coming season, but they’re also looking at  players like La’el Collins, Robert Quinn, Sean Lee and even head coach Jason Garrett will be free agents after this coming season.

Looking ahead to 2020 the Cowboys have $127,612,645 in committed salaries. This of course can change with trades or a player being released, but this is the number they’re at right now. The salary cap for 2020 is projected to be $188,200,000. This would leave the Cowboys $60,587,355 is that enough money to bring back Prescott and Cooper? Now if Elliott is to hold out and the Cowboys re-do his deal the answer might be no, but which player would they let leave as a free agent?

If you where Jerry Jones how do you handle this situation. Do you re-work Elliott’s deal? Even though he has two years left on it. If you do Give Elliott a new deal and you can only keep either Cooper or Prescott; who are you keeping?

The third running back who may be a hold out isn’t as well known of a name as the first two guys we talked about, but he’s an affective pass catching back and could be very useful in the right offense. That would be Duke Johnson of the Cleveland Browns.

Johnson is in a very crowded backfield with the Browns, but he’s also in a tough position to hold out as he has three years left on his contract. Obviously if Johnson held out it would be to try and force a trade and not for a new contract.

With the addition of Kareem Hunt there’s a good chance that Johnson’s touches will go down, but Hunt is suspended for the first eight weeks of the season; so there should be no issues with Johnson’s playing time until then. Once Hunt comes back; who knows. Will he be in playing shape or will it take him a few weeks to get ready? Those are things we won’t know until Hunt plays, but there a chance that Johnson will still see the football even when Hunt returns.

Johnson led all of Browns running backs with 47 receptions last season. He had 3 receiving touchdowns and 429 yards threw the air last season. Johnson also got 40 rushing attempts and ran for 201 yards last season. Johnson’s 47 receptions where good for 3rd on the Browns last season, but with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. will Johnson see the same number of targets (62) that he did last season.

Johnson isn’t an every down running back, but he has played in ever game since being drafted by the Browns in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft. The most Johnson has ever carried the football in a season is 104 times, but he does have a career high of 74 receptions; so he definitely has a place in today’s NFL.

There have been some reports out there that say Johnson wil report to camp with the Browns, but what will Cleveland do with him? What do you think the trade market is for a player with Johnson’s skill set?

Now there will be some other big name players that hold out, but I wanted to stick with the running backs for now.

Just imagine how interesting the first round of your fantasy draft might be if Gordon and Elliott are both holding out. The Chargers and fantasy owners could turn to Austin Ekeler, but who would the Cowboys turn to if Elliott does hold out. Does Rod Smith take over as the Cowboys #1 running back?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen at you convenience.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

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