With questions surrounding the Chiefs running back depth going into 2022, could they bolster the position by signing a very familiar foe?
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
Phillip McGruder @McGruderPMac
The 2021 NFL season has come to an end. Congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams on their 2nd Super Bowl Title in franchise history. It was disappointing to not see the Kansas City Chiefs be in Los Angeles representing the AFC, but things happen for a reason. We lost fair and square to the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 in Overtime back in late January.
I work for the Chiefs during the season (part time) as an event services member of the team. The one thing I saw that I felt we didn’t take advantage of was when the Bengals defense dared us to run the ball. Of course, we didn’t take them up on their challenge not because we can’t run the ball but mainly because Andy Reid is a pass first coach. Always has and always will be and nobody should question that but Andy has no problem with using the run if he had a true three down running back like he had in Kareem Hunt before his February 2018 incident that was shown on TMZ led to his dismissal from the team.
With that being said, that’s why I believe that the Chiefs should consider the option of adding a true three down running back on our offense. This is not to throw shade at Darrel Williams, Jerick McKinnon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Derrick Gore. They’re great players who are all capable of starting for any RB needy team in the NFL especially if you know how to use these guys. McKinnon was a revelation in the passing game with a 121.3 passer rating when he’s targeted which is the third best among pass catching RBs in the NFL in 2021 and I believe the Chiefs should bring him back along with Darrel Williams who had a career season with 1,000 total scrimmage yards and 8 TDs. Both were excellent for what they did for our offense in 2021 and they should come back in 2022 but there is no problem with bringing in some more star power to make the competition in the RB room more competitive. One of those RBs I’d love to see the Chiefs to target this off-season is Broncos free agent RB Melvin Gordon.
I believe it would be smart to sign a running back capable of stepping into a bigger role if need be. Melvin Gordon III has experience in carrying a heavy workload and experience in being a complementary back. Gordon has made it known that he’s not going to be second fiddle to Javonte Williams. The former Bronco averaged 4.6 yards per carry in the last two seasons and has production and shows promise in the passing game (30-33 catches per season). Gordon’s game is highlighted by his good vision. He’s a very north-south runner, not looking to alter his path any more than he has to. That’s not to say he won’t or can’t. Gordon has very good lateral agility to help him bounce in and out to space when he needs to. He’s just selective and good at what he does playing the RB position.
At 28 years old, Gordon has hit his full potential getting three Pro Bowl selections while with the Chargers (2016 to 2018). Back in January of 2017, Gordon played for Andy Reid & the Chiefs’ coaching staff while representing the Chargers and AFC in the Pro Bowl. Alex Smith, Travis Kelce, Marcus Peters, Eric Berry, Dustin Colquitt & Tyreek Hill were his teammates. That’s also how the Chiefs signed Kelechi Osemele because he was also on that AFC Pro Bowl roster coached by Reid and the Chiefs staff. Gordon was also teammates at the Pro Bowl in 2019 with Patrick Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, Eric Fisher, Anthony Sherman, and then-Chargers teammate and future Chiefs pass rusher Melvin Ingram.
Investing in a player like Gordon would make fans think it would likely require the Chiefs to spend like $10 million for a guy like Gordon, as he will probably not be wanting to compete for the RB1 position on our team but if he were to watch the Chiefs in 2018 before the Kareem Hunt situation, he should be thinking “ I can do that in the Chiefs scheme too especially with Mahomes, Hill and Kelce.” Gordon would definitely get a similar deal or probably that Shady McCoy got in 2019 (He made $4M in 2019) and I’m not a salary cap expert but Veach and his crew will figure that part out. Gordon certainly has proven to be a three-down player in the NFL. Adding Gordon could help out Clyde Edwards-Helaire who fans want to point out that he’s injury prone and his contract is up after the 2023 season ends. Gordon can take the heavy load snaps and CEH can finally use his pass catching skills as a third down back or McKinnon if they bring him back.
Gordon would fit in nicely in the Chiefs zone-heavy run scheme. His vision would be a valuable asset finding cutbacks when presented which helps to set up his blockers in space. He’s comfortable with hitting the hole created by his blockers and shows promise as a route runner. That being said, the position would be secure for the next two or three years with an excellent, complete running back like Melvin Gordon III.