Houston Texans: The assets the team should give up for Melvin Gordon

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, a player the Houston Texans should target. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, a player the Houston Texans should target. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans need a replacement for Lamar Miller amid his injury and Melvin Gordon would be the add in a perfect world. He will be costly. Why?

The Houston Texans are in a bit of fix right now with their running back situation, after the terrible news indicating that Lamar Miller is out for the season.  It has been confirmed from an MRI today that he tore not only his ACL but his MCL which certainly means that he will not be trotting across the gridiron anytime soon.

I suspect that he will give it a go once he fully recovers but it’s going to take at least a year to get himself ready to play again.  Who knows when — or where — that may be because Miller was working off the last season of a four-year, $26 million deal that would’ve paid him $5.5 million in base salary this season.

This news sucks so bad because I know he had been working extremely hard the offseason to be a better pass-catcher in the backfield.  That was his latest project to help make him indispensable. We already know that he intentionally lost weight back in 2018 to be faster runner and he broke his own record with the longest rushing touchdown run in NFL history in late November against the Tennessee Titans.

He was getting results and I was excited to see how much of difference he would’ve made on the receiving front.  But that won’t happen now and the Houston Texans will have to find a suitable replacement for Miller.

I talked about how Jay Ajayi would be a formidable replacement but in a perfect world, general manager Bill O’Brien should pick up the red line to Tom Telesco and try to see if they can pry away Melvin Gordon from the Los Angeles Chargers.

Gordon has been holding out all of training camp — as well as the preseason — with his hopes pinned on the Chargers acquiescing to get him a long-term deal.  He’s in the final season of his rookie deal that will pay him $5.6 million this season.

Gordon and Miller roughly make the same money in 2019 but with Gordon wanting a new contract, I’m sure he wants something in the range — or greater — of what his counterpart Todd Gurley is making crosstown with the Los Angeles Rams.  Gurley signed a four-year, $57.5 million extension last season, ensuring that he’s the highest-paid back in the NFL.

So if the Houston Texans make a play for Gordon, they’re going to have to give him an assurance that a long-term deal will be hammered out.  I just honestly don’t see this team paying a running back $15 million a season when they’ve been able to get solid production out of Miller for half of the price.

They could get this deal without the likes of dangling Jadeveon Clowney — although it’d be done quicker — with a package including him and some draft picks.

I’d go as high as a 2020 second-round pick plus a 2021 fifth-rounder for Gordon.  I’d imagine they’d want a first for him but he’s got some miles on the odometer so the second-rounder should do the trick.

But who knows if the Chargers want to make him available?  He’s clearly the top back in NFL outside of Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott.

Pro Football Focus had Gordon ranked No. 1 out of all running backs in 2018 with a sterling 90.5 grade.  He also had an 86.1 offensive, an 80.6 fumble and 64.6 run block grade last season as well through 213 snaps.

Gordon was ranked 9th among backs with at least 150 snaps in breakaway percentage (35.6) — earning his highest yardage on big plays of 15 yards or more.

He also was ranked 5th in elusive rating (65.5) which is a stat that PFF uses to measure his ability to have success independent of the blocking in front of him.  It also measures the difficulty of bringing any given running back down.

So with that being said, he’s great and with an ER has high as his, it won’t matter that this offensive line is lackluster at blocking as he’ll still be able to make plays on his own.

But in reality, would this expensive maneuver even have a chance of happening?  Likely not but it’s

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okay to dream.  If Jeff Luhnow and Daryl Morey were running the team, I’d say that ANYTHING is possible but you’ve got O’Brien running the show so I seriously doubt that he wants to spend money and go all-in on this impressive talent.

After all, he’ll probably tell you that running backs come a dime a dozen and that he can find talent that can get the job done on the cheap.

Duke Johnson is more of a complementary piece rather than the guy you’d trust as your RB1.  They need to get that guy and Gordon would fit the bill, a pricey one at that.

We’ll see about that but I’ll be interested to see what direction the Houston Texans go in.

Stay tuned.

Next. Texans: Team should sign Jay Ajayi as soon as possible. dark

Gordon, 26, rushed 175 times for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns — 5.1 yards per attempt — back in 2018.  He also caught 50 balls off 66 targets for 490 yards and four touchdowns as well for a 75.8 percent catch rate.

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