New York (CBS Los Angeles)- With a little more than two weeks left before the 2019-2020 NFL season kicks off, the Los Angeles Chargers and Melvin Gordon are still at an impasse in contract negotiations.

Gordon is entering his fifth season set to make a little over $5.65 million in the final year of his rookie deal. He has held out of training camp while asking for a new contract to be negotiated. The Chargers haven’t budged from their initial offer and per a Pro Football Talk report, the holdout is becoming more and more expensive to Gordon with each passing day.

The Chargers, like the rest of the NFL, seem to view the running back position as one where a lot of money shouldn’t be spent. The highest yearly value of a running back contract at the moment belongs to Todd Gurley of the cross town Rams, who will earn an average of $14 million per year for the next four years based on the 4-year $57 million extension he signed with the team prior to next season.

The Chargers don’t appear to see Gordon on the same level as the highest reported offer to the back came in the $10-$11 million range. If Gordon were to sign a contract on those terms, he would become the 4th-highest paid back in the league. But, to NFL on CBS analyst Tiki Barber, all of this talk about Gordon’s contract seems to underrate the value Gordon brings to the team.

“He always slips under the radar because he doesn’t feel like he is an elite player, but he is an elite player,” said NFL on CBS analyst Tiki Barber in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith at NFL on CBS Media Day in New York this week. “He is a beast. And I remember this from my playing days. Scoring touchdowns is a skill. Melvin scores. I think that is often lost because we look at it in fantasy terms sometimes as in how many yards does he have or how many receptions does he have? But, it’s about scoring.”

For Barber, he hopes Gordon or Dallas Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott set a new high water mark for the running back market. The reason is, Barber believes that contrary to popular belief, running backs aren’t interchangeable.

“We have forgotten about Melvin Gordon currently in this preseason because of Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout with the Dallas Cowboys,” said Barber. “The expectations are so high for them (the Cowboys) and they have three guys that they have to pay. But, running backs, as a group, are disrespected as it pertains to being paid. It is only going to take one of them to reset the expectation. I hope it’s Zeke or Melvin or one of them. Because I am tired of hearing the narrative that they’re expendable and a dime a dozen. The average ones are. The great ones are not a dime a dozen.”

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