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Denver Broncos release running back Melvin Gordon: 3 ideal landing spots

Andrew Buller-Russ

The Denver Broncos have essentially failed this season. There have been a lot of scapegoats, from Russell Wilson to coach Nathaniel Hackett’s gameday decision-making plus his playcalling. Now, we can add running back Melvin Gordon to the list (as if he already didn’t face great scrutiny this season).

On Sunday, Gordon received just eight carries and also caught five passes. Unfortunately, it was the fumble that did him in during Denver’s seventh loss of the season. It was Gordon’s fifth fumble of the year. His goal-line fumble in the Broncos’ season opener was only the start of an otherwise ugly season in Denver in the NFL’s lowest-scoring offense.

Then, on Monday, the Broncos announced they have released Gordon after two and a half seasons with the team. Making matters even more awkward is the fact that Gordon and Wilson played one college season together for the Wisconsin Badgers, but clearly, this duo was not working out.

Now 29 years old, the two-time Pro Bowl running back has hit the waiver wire, giving all other 31 NFL teams a chance to claim Gordon’s contract.

In this case, Denver’s loss could be another team’s gain. While the arrangement was not working out with the Broncos, several teams are expected to have interest in the eight-year pro. Here are three potential landing spots for the veteran tailback.

Related: NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Eagles and Cowboys soar, Vikings and Jets crash

Melvin Gordon lands with Washington Commanders

NFL: Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos
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Having won five-of-their-past six matchups, suddenly the Washington Commanders are in the postseason picture. Yet, they also lost backup J.D. McKissic for the season, who was a versatile back that had a decent-sized role catching passes out of the backfield.

Now with the Commanders down to Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson, they don’t necessarily need to add a starting option, but replacing their depth would be ideal. Gordon could step right into where McKissic left off, filling in on third downs when needed. If the Commanders plan to continue their pace of having the eighth-most rushing attempts in football, they’ll need another capable back on hand down the stretch.

Related: 2022 NFL offense rankings: Cowboys rise again after destroying Vikings

Chicago picks up Gordon on waivers

NFL: International Series-Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
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The top rushing attack in football, the Chicago Bears have drastically improved their offense as of late. But that blip of success could soon fade with the news of Khalil Herbert having to go on injured reserve, forcing him out of at least the next four games.

Sure, Justin Fields is RB1, and David Montgomery has become RB2, but when you average 36 rushing attempts per game, you need another option. Enter Melvin Gordon.

  • Melvin Gordon stats (2022): 318 rushing yards, 2 TD, 223 receiving yards, 5 fumbles

Gordon will slot in behind Fields and Montgomery, picking up any leftover scraps, but it also might be one of his better opportunities to hit the ground running, as the Bears will not abandon their offensive approach.

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Gordon makes it to Kansas City

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
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Gordon may be past his prime, but he’s also quite experienced. Kansas City has used a rotation of backs this season, but they don’t appear pleased with any of them. Recently, it’s been rookie seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco who’s got the hot hand, but that may not be everlasting.

Meanwhile, Gordon has played for the Chargers and the Broncos, why not go for the trifecta and join the Chiefs? The biggest hurdle preventing such a move is the fact that there are 30 other teams who hold waiver priority over the Chiefs thanks to their 8-2 record. Basically, for Gordon to land in KC, it will take 30 NFL teams turning him down.

It’s a longshot, but Gordon’s veteran presence could not only help the other young tailbacks in the room, such as Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but he may also find himself as the hot hand who gets relied on during the postseason. While he has struggled to hold onto the ball as of late, it’s possible coach Eric Bieniemy could help him get back on track.

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