Mar 21, 2020 3:16 PM

Broncos bolster backfield by signing Melvin Gordon away from Chargers

Posted Mar 21, 2020 3:16 PM

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) — The Denver Broncos continued an impressive offseason haul Friday by agreeing to a two-year deal with former Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon.

A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that it's worth $16 million with all but $2.5 million guaranteed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because terms of the deal weren't revealed.

The Broncos didn't announce the deal but did tweet a clip of King Features comic strip character Flash Gordon, which is their new running back's nickname.

Although his new deal is less than the $10 million annually that Gordon turned down from the Chargers during an unsuccessful holdout for a long-term extension last season, it does allow him the opportunity to face his old team twice a year and to hit free agency again in 2022 at age 28.

His $8 million annual salary also ranks fourth in the NFL among running backs.

Gordon's arrival bolsters a Denver offense that has stagnated in recent years and which produced just 17.6 points a game in 2019. New offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has set out to install a stronger ground game and push the ball down the field more in the passing game with second-year QB Drew Lock.

Gordon is an ideal fit.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection has three dozen rushing touchdowns over the last four seasons and 47 touchdowns overall. That ranks third in the NFL since 2016, trailing only former Rams running back Todd Gurley (60), who agreed to a deal with Atlanta on Friday, and Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott (48).

Gordon, the 15th overall draft pick in 2015 out of Wisconsin, and Phillip Lindsay figure to share the bulk of the workload for the Broncos, who traded fullback Andy Janovich to the Cleveland Browns earlier this week.

General manager John Elway has said he would like to rework Lindsay's contract following back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons by the back who went undrafted after starring at the University of Colorado. Lindsay is due to make $750,000.

Gordon held out through the first three weeks of the regular season last year and scored nine touchdowns in his return. His former backup, Austin Ekeler, had a breakout season that resulted in a contract extension two weeks ago worth $24.5 million over four years, including $15 million guaranteed.

Gordon averaged only 3.8 yards per carry when he returned last season and totaled 908 scrimmage yards after recording over 1,200 scrimmage yards in three straight seasons from 2016 to '18. He caught 42 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown.

In five seasons with the Chargers, Gordon rushed for 4,240 yards and caught 224 passes for 1,873 yards.

Elway has been busy this offseason, trading third-day draft picks to plug major holes at cornerback (A.J. Bouye) and defensive tackle (Jurrell Casey) and luring two ex-Lions in free agency: Graham Glasgow and Jeff Driskel. Glasgow replaced oft-injured Ronald Leary at right guard and Driskel is Lock's new backup and replaces former starter Joe Flacco, whose release Thursday saved the team $10 million.

Also Friday, the Broncos announced they had re-signed cornerback De'Vante Bausby.

Additionally, the team announced it was teaming with the Colorado Legislature, businesses and non-profits in a drive Sunday to collect personal protective equipment for hospitals battling the novel coronaviris pandemic. The groups are collecting donations of such items as gloves, masks and bleach bottles at Empower Field at Mile High.

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Mar 21, 2020 3:16 PM
Broncos cut Joe Flacco, Tom Brady signs with Bucs

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Another veteran NFL quarterback is hitting the open market.

The Denver Broncos are waiving Joe Flacco with a failed physical designation, a person with knowledge of the move told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team didn't announce the decision.

Flacco went 2-6 as Denver's starter last season before a neck injury ended his season. He was eventually replaced by rookie Drew Lock, who went 4-1 down the stretch and was named the incumbent in 2020.

This week the Broncos agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with free agent Jeff Driskel, who will back up Lock.

The move to cut ties with Flacco comes with a $13 million cap hit for the Broncos in 2020, but it frees up $10 million to spend in free agency.

The MVP of Super Bowl 47 while with the Baltimore Ravens, Flacco has missed large chunks of the past two seasons with injures, playing in nine games in 2018 in Baltimore and eight in 2019.

Last season he threw for just six touchdowns with five interceptions and he was sacked a whopping 26 times in his eight starts.

After the season ended, Flacco said he was optimistic he'd be medically cleared to continue his career and was open to a backup job if it came to that.

"I'm probably a little bit more worried about other things at this point," Flacco said on Dec. 30. "If that's what it has to be, then, I want to play football ... whether it's here or wherever, if that's what it's going to take for me to get back in and start playing again, then yeah, I'll go that route."

Flacco said at the time he felt good enough to throw the football but "the question is, when got hit or something like that, how I would hold up? The answer is probably not good at this point."

Flacco said at the time he wasn't sure if he'd need surgery and would get periodic MRIs in the offseason.

Coach Vic Fangio said at the NFL scouting combine last month that Flacco hadn't been medically cleared.

Providing he eventually can pass a physical, Flacco joins a Who's Who of quarterbacks available to the highest bidder, a list topped by Tom Brady, who's leaving New England after 20 years for Tampa Bay.

Other QBs on the move include: Teddy Bridgewater (from New Orleans to Carolina), Philip Rivers (from L.A. Chargers to Indianapolis), Case Keenum (from Washington to Cleveland), Chase Daniel (from Chicago to Detroit) and Marcus Mariota (from Tennessee to Las Vegas).

Also available are: Cam Newton (by way of trade), Jameis Winston, Josh McCown, Blake Bortles and Mike Glennon, among others.

Brady Signs with Bucs

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 42-year-old quarterback who spent the first 20 years of his career with the New England Patriots announced he’s “starting a new football journey” in an Instagram post and thanked the Bucs for the opportunity. The deal is worth $30 million per season. The signing comes three days after Brady announced on social media that he would not return to New England, ending his historic run with the Patriots.

Todd Gurley inks with Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to a one-year deal with three-time Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley, one day after he was cut by the Los Angeles Rams. A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press about the agreement on condition of anonymity because the deal will not be official until Gurley passes a physical. The league isn’t allowing players to report to new teams immediately for those physicals during the coronavirus pandemic. Gurley will be making a return to the state of Georgia. He was a standout at the University of Georgia, rushing for more than 3,000 yards in three seasons.