Last year, the Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell was released from Pittsburgh, staying out the season. This year, as running back Chargers threatened to do the same thing, some think that, like Bell, Gordon could end up forcing free competition by doing literally nothing.
But there is a big difference between the two players. The path leading from Bell to free will arose from specific rules relating to the franchise label. While Bell spent the entire season in which the franchise label had been applied for the second time, the Steelers should have offered a franchise-based franchise-powered bid to be able to trade for the third time with Bell. The Steelers chose not to do so, and the Steelers also chose not to apply the transitional right-of-first-refusal label, which ultimately would have cost as much as the Bell franchise label would have cost. 2018 (that is to say., $ 14.52 million).
Gordon still has a year on his rookie contract. Spending a full year would simply take the last year of his recruiting contract to 2020, with the same $ 5.60 million he was earning this year.
If Gordon chooses to miss regular season games, he will have to return on Tuesday after week 10 (but probably earlier because of the list exemption for which chargers would be eligible) in order to get a credit for the fifth and last year. of his contract. Chargers could still use Gordon's franchise label or transition label in 2020, but there is no guarantee they will.
Even if the Chargers' franchise label was Gordon, his salary would more than double in 2020. He could then skip the entire off-season program, the training camp and the pre-season free of charge, he could refuel amount of his franchise offer by showing as late as the Labor Day weekend, then he could pass all of 2021 (if he is again labeled franchise), which would require him to move to a independent agency like Bell did for 2022.
It's all theoretical. In practice, Gordon must understand that, regardless of his personal beliefs about the value of the halves, teams do not see it that way. At any given moment, only a small number of backpacks are really special (currently Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and perhaps Le'Veon Bell). It's only a year or a day before each special back is easily replaceable, but a much cheaper, younger and healthier option right out of college.
Gordon falls into this "easily replaceable" category. It will know if / when it will hold, if / when it will ask for an exchange and if / when no team will propose to the Chargers a significant remuneration and money of the market value of Gordon in order to reach an agreement.
That's not to say that he should not take a stand. It's good to see players ready to challenge and disrupt a system that, for many of them, is just not right. But any player who takes this position must be on firm and solid ground. Gordon's pitch may not be as firm and solid as he seems to believe.