Guest of the League
Area Codes 2.0 Est. 2020
FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Melvin Gordon III showing off new physique, hairdo, attitude

Tue Jun 15 6:40pm ET
AP Pro Football Writer

Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon, right, takes part in drills during a mandatory minicamp at the NFL team's training headquarters Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

From left, Denver Broncos running backs Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon and Royce Freeman confer as they takes part in drills during a mandatory minicamp at the NFL team's training headquarters Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos' backfield looks a whole lot different this year with local favorite Phillip Lindsay gone, replaced by second-round draft pick Javonte Williams and free agent acquisition Mike Boone.

Even returning starter Melvin Gordon III looks different.

Gordon made his on-field offseason debut at the team's mandatory minicamp Tuesday and showed off a buffer body, shorn locks and even a smile and joviality that were absent almost all of last year.

Gordon said his weight is still 215 but his body is harder because ''I actually got to train and do what I do'' a year after the pandemic curtailed his normal offseason regime.

''Most of the gyms were closed down. People were trying to run at their houses. I mean, I was literally meeting up with people trying to sneak into gyms to try to train,'' Gordon said. ''So, it was tough. I didn't really go through what I (normally) go through to get myself prepared and ready for the season.''

After five seasons with the Chargers, the former first-round pick signed a two-year, $16 million deal last year with division rival Denver. His first year with the Broncos was a wild ride that included a career-low 10 starts, 986 yards rushing and nine TDs.

Along the way, he scored his 50th career touchdown and surpassed 5,000 rushing yards and 2,000 receiving yards for his career. But he also fumbled four times and was dogged by an speeding-while-impaired citation that threatened to scuttle the second year of his contract until the case was resolved in his favor this offseason.

With Lindsay signing with Houston, Gordon returns as the incumbent starter determined to make the most of his second season in orange and navy.

Gordon, who is due about $7 million in salary and bonus this season, said he ''went back to his roots with everything opening back up'' to get himself physically ready for the 2021 season.

''I know what I need to do to come out here and be special,'' Gordon said. ''... Just because I haven't been here don't mean I haven't been working. I grind. That's what I do. I've prided myself on that since I was at Wisconsin and I'm going to continue to work hard as if I'm a free agent.''

Gordon also ditched the dreadlocks since he last suited up for the Broncos.

''Bo Jackson's been trying to get me to cut my hair for a while. So, I know he's somewhere smiling,'' Gordon said. ''But I just wanted some change, man. I just felt it was time. I've been wanting to cut it for a couple of years now. I was just kind of nervous, kind of scared to.''

Not everyone's a fan of his new 'do.

''My dad was (ticked) at me. He literally told me, `You'll lose the power of Flash if you cut your hair,''' Gordon said with a laugh. ''He's a little (ticked). But it's not the hair, man, it's the talent.''

Asked if he had shed a couple of pounds at the barbershop alone, Gordon laughed.

''You would think, right? No, I weigh the same, I'm pretty much the same,'' Gordon said as he leaned back in his chair on the Zoom call after Tuesday's practice and unwittingly showed off his more chiseled upper body.

''I went down a size in my helmet, though,'' Gordon said as he leaned back into the camera. ''So, I can actually fit in a large instead of having to wear an extra large now.''

Notes: Among the Broncos' five minicamp tryout players are former Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin. ... HC Vic Fangio said one player who's had a really good offseason is WR Kendall Hinton, who filled in at quarterback against the Saints last year. QB Drew Lock concurred: ''Super aggressive to the ball. You feel like you can throw him the ball 1-on-1 and he's going to go get it.'' ... QB Teddy Bridgewater revealed he suffered a knee injury against Tampa Bay in Week 10 last year and probably should have shut it down the rest of the season because it affected his play over the last two months. He said he's 100% now.

Top Headlines
The Paur Report

2021 Champion's Draft

Player Notes
Kellen Mond Jun 15 5:50pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings signed third-round quarterback Kellen Mond to his four-year rookie deal on Tuesday. The four-year deal is worth $5.2 million. Mond was taken with the 66th overall pick of this year's draft and is expected to back up starter Kirk Cousins in 2021. The dual-threat signal-caller will strictly be a dynasty/keeper league asset in his rookie season, as the Vikings plan is to have him sit and learn behind Cousins for a year or two. Mond will only see action in his rookie season if Cousins is forced to miss time due to injury, and even then, he would be more of a low-end QB2. The 21-year-old from Texas A&M has good arm strength, mobility and accuracy and will put pressure on the incumbent in the near future if he develops quickly.

From RotoBaller

Jamal Adams Jun 15 5:40pm ET

Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Duane Brown was present for the start of the team's mandatory minicamp this week, but he wants a new deal as he enters the final year of his contract in 2021. Brown is set to make $10 million this year, and his contract situation is one to monitor this summer. The 35-year-old former first-rounder in 2008 by the Houston Texans missed four games due to injury in 2019, but he continues to play at a high level when he's on the field. The problem is that All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, who would also like a new deal, is likely ahead of Brown in terms of team priorities. It remains to be seen if the veteran Brown can continue to play at a high level near the end of his career, but the four-time Pro Bowler has gotten it done in recent seasons.

From RotoBaller

Tua Tagovailoa Jun 15 3:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw five interceptions at the first day of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, albeit in monsoon-like weather, according to some beat reporters. Tagovailoa said the interceptions stemmed from an emphasis on being aggressive with his throws downfield. Some may raise their eyebrows, especially after his disappointing rookie season, but fantasy managers should take this performance with a grain of salt in June. Head coach Brian Flores said a few weeks ago that Tagovailoa has a better grasp of the offense entering Year 2, and he certainly has the weapons to make a big leap in 2021. With a full offseason and a year removed from hip surgery, the 23-year-old will be a fine QB2 target with upside.

From RotoBaller

Derek Wolfe Jun 15 3:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe won't practice this week after recently dealing with a bout of pneumonia, according to head coach John Harbaugh. Wolfe also skipped voluntary workouts recently after signing a three-year, $12 million contract extension in March. In his first season with Baltimore after eight seasons with the Denver Broncos to begin his career, Wolfe recorded 51 tackles (six for loss), four QB hits, one fumble recovery and a career-low one sack in 14 games (eight starts) in 2020. The 31-year-old should be fine for training camp last week and will be looking to bounce back in the trenches in his second year with the Ravens. Wolfe should start alongside Calais Campbell on the interior, but he's not a realistic IDP target as more of a run-stopper than pass-rusher.

From RotoBaller

Zach Wilson Jun 15 3:30pm ET

New York Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton (foot) will not take part in minicamp this week, but head coach Robert Saleh said that the team is "very confident he'll be ready to go (by training camp). He's just got a little nagging foot injury. It's not worth it to put him out there and make something so small a lot worse." Becton is dealing with plantar fasciitis, but he won't need surgery and should be ready at the end of July. However, this can be a pretty painful and debilitating injury, especially for a player that stands at 6-foot-7, 369 pounds, so it's an injury to watch. The 22-year-old was one of the top tackles from the 2020 draft class, but rookie quarterback Zach Wilson could be in a world of hurt if Becton is forced to miss any time this year with the foot ailment.

From RotoBaller

Sheldon Richardson Jun 15 3:00pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings agreed to an undisclosed deal with free-agent defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson on Tuesday. Richardson returns to Minnesota after playing for them in 2018, recording 49 tackles (six for loss) and 4.5 sacks in 16 games. The 30-year-old played the last two seasons with the Cleveland Browns but was released to clear salary cap space. Originally a first-round pick (13th overall) by the New York Jets in 2013 out of Missouri, Richardson spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with Gang Green before landing with the Seattle Seahawks in 2017. Richardson had a combined 7.5 sacks in the last two seasons with Cleveland and should serve in a rotational role on Minnesota's defensive line as they look to improve up front after a miserable season in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Justin Fields Jun 15 3:00pm ET

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that there is no possible scenario where rookie quarterback Justin Fields is the starting quarterback in Week 1 on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. "Andy Dalton is our starter. Justin is our No. 2 and we are going to stick with this plan. You just got to trust the plan," Nagy said. Chicago traded up in the first round to take Fields as their future franchise signal-caller, but the plan all along has been to ease him into NFL action behind the veteran Dalton. Plus, it wouldn't be wise to throw Fields to the wolves against a very tough Rams defense right out of the gates. Fields will see the field sooner than later and he has enticing upside with a strong arm and plenty of speed, but he'll be a better dynasty/keeper selection than a redraft one in 2021. If Fields is starting by the second half of the season, he could have some plug-and-play potential in single-year leagues due to his dual-threat ability.

From RotoBaller

Danielle Hunter Jun 15 2:50pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings and defensive end Danielle Hunter agreed to a restructured deal on Tuesday, according to sources informed of the situation. He will receive $5.6 million of the money due to him this year as a signing bonus, giving him a significant portion of the money due to him much sooner. A new $18 million roster bonus will also trigger on the fifth day of the league year in 2022. What was once a five-year extension now becomes a four-year pact, with the Vikings able to move on from Hunter and save significant money next year. The 26-year-old is in his prime, but he also missed all of last year due to a neck injury that required surgery. Minnesota's defense should improve drastically with Hunter back in the fold. He had 14.5 sacks in each of his last two seasons while being named to the Pro Bowl both times.

From RotoBaller

Donte Jackson Jun 15 2:50pm ET

The Carolina Panthers agreed to terms with first-round cornerback Jaycee Horn on a four-year contract on Tuesday. The deal is fully guaranteed for $21.1 million. Horn came off the board at No. 8 overall as the first defensive player picked in this year's draft out of South Carolina. The 21-year-old should start immediately for the Panthers rebuilt secondary that includes Donte Jackson and A.J. Bouye. Hopefully, Horn will be able to fill the void left by James Bradberry when he departed in free agency last offseason. Although he didn't face elite wide receiver talent in college, Horn is sticky in man coverage but will need to improve his technique if he wants to stay with smaller and quicker pass-catchers at the next level.

From RotoBaller

Xavien Howard Jun 15 2:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins star cornerback Xavien Howard isn't on the field for the first practice of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday and is officially holding out, according to a source. The Dolphins gave Howard a new deal prior to the 2020 season, but he's reportedly already upset with his contract and wants to renegotiate. He has three years left on the five-year deal he signed but is now out of guaranteed money and has little leverage. The 27-year-old former second-round pick in 2016 was an All-Pro for Miami last year, tallying 51 tackles (40 solo), a career-high 10 interceptions, 20 passes defensed and one forced fumble in 16 games. Howard has made the Pro Bowl twice and has 22 career interceptions in 56 games (55 starts).

From RotoBaller

Jamal Adams Jun 15 2:10pm ET

The Seattle Seahawks have excused safety Jamal Adams from this week's mandatory minicamp for personal reasons, according to a source. The 25-year-old All-Pro is seeking a new contract, but his absence isn't related to any kind of holdout. Seattle traded multiple high-end draft picks to acquire Adams' services from the New York Jets last offseason, and he finished with 83 tackles (11 for loss), 14 QB hits, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and a career-high 9.5 sacks in just 12 games. The three-time Pro Bowler isn't your typical strong safety, as he often comes up into the box to defend against the run and pressure the opposing quarterback. He's one of the best at what he does and should be the first defensive back off the board in IDP drafts.

From RotoBaller

Cam Newton Jun 15 2:00pm ET

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that quarterback Cam Newton is "way ahead of where he was last year at this time. There's no question about that." Newton recently suffered a bruised hand, but he's expected to receive a full complement of repetitions at minicamp this week. The injury was minor to begin with, so fantasy managers won't need to worry about it. Even though New England drafted rookie signal-caller Mac Jones in the first round this year, Newton is fully expected to begin the year as the starter under center. The 32-year-old was highly inconsistent in his first year with the Pats, and a bout with COVID-19 didn't help him, but it sounds like he's more comfortable with the offense in 2021. Newton will need to be much better as a passer this year, but his ability to use his legs and score touchdowns on the ground will at least make him a passable streaming QB in the right matchups.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Jun 14 6:20pm ET

The New York Jets and wide receiver Jamison Crowder have renegotiated his contract for the 2021 season, keeping him on the team for another year at least. Crowder was a rumored cut candidate throughout the offseason thanks to a $10 million cap hit in non-guaranteed money. Now Crowder will be a veteran presence to mentor a young wide receiver corps and serve as a safety blanket for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson in New York. Despite the reworked deal, Crowder can still become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021 season. He is coming off a 59-catch, 699-yard, six-touchdown season over 12 games in 2020 and should serve as a low-end WR3 in PPR leagues this year. Fantasy gamers hoping to count on rookie slot receiver Elijah Moore will probably have to wait until the 2022 season.

From RotoBaller

Sheldon Richardson Jun 14 5:43pm ET

Free-agent DT Sheldon Richardson (Browns) is receiving interest from the Minnesota Vikings, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Sheldon Richardson Jun 14 5:23pm ET

Free-agent DT Sheldon Richardson (Browns) has decided not to re-sign with the Cleveland Browns this offseason, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Allen Robinson Jun 14 4:13pm ET

Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson plans to participate in the mandatory minicamp this week, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Robinson received the franchise tag this offseason, so the two sides have about a month to reach a long-term contract. He continues to be one of the top receivers in the NFL and should be a weekly No. 1 receiver in all fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Corey Clement Jun 14 4:13pm ET

New York Giants RB Corey Clement received some snaps with the first-team offense during offseason workouts since RB Saquon Barkley (knee) is sitting out. He has a chance to make the final roster because he can help on offense and can play on special teams.

From TheHuddle

Malik Hooker Jun 14 3:13pm ET

Free-agent S Malik Hooker (Colts) may need to wait until closer to training camp before signing with a team. He said he may only receive a one-year contract because of an Achilles' tendon injury he suffered last season.

From TheHuddle

Xavien Howard Jun 14 3:03pm ET

Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (quadriceps) has been dealing with a quadriceps injury over the last few weeks and may not practice if he decides to report for minicamp, according to a source. Howard is expected be at minicamp but is looking for a raise and a contract restructuring from the team.

From TheHuddle

Jonnu Smith Jun 14 2:43pm ET

New England Patriots TE Jonnu Smith (hamstring) left practice early Monday, June 14, after suffering an apparent hamstring injury.

Fantasy Spin: Smith was one of the high-priced tight ends the Patriots signed this offseason, so he should have a significant role in the passing game. He posted eight touchdowns last season and should be a threat in the red zone. He can be a No. 1 tight end in most leagues.

From TheHuddle