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Broncos roster review: running back Phillip Lindsay

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The Denver Broncos have a starting running back in Phillip Lindsay, but they have him potentially splitting reps with Melvin Gordon in 2020. Is that going to pan out?

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos had no idea what they were getting when they signed Phillip Lindsay as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Two years later, lightning in a bottle would have been a good way to describe him.

#30 Phillip Lindsay
Age 25. 5’8”, 190 lbs.
College: Colorado

Lindsay has put together back-to-back 1,000 yard campaigns and despite his small frame has proven he can run inside and outside behind an offensive line that has been less than impressive through his first two seasons.

Phillip Lindsay career stats

YEAR G ATT YDS AVG LNG TD 20+ 40+ FUM
YEAR G ATT YDS AVG LNG TD 20+ 40+ FUM
2019 16 224 1011 4.5 40 7 7 1 0
2018 15 192 1037 5.4 65 9 8 3 0
TOTAL 31 416 2048 4.9 65 16 15 4 0

The good

He’s fearless. If you threw Lindsay into a dog pile of 6-7 other 300 pound men and him, I’d put money on Lindsay coming out with his fist thumping his chest and ready for the next play. Mostly because I’ve seen him do it a hundred times over his first two seasons.

I think the addition of Melvin Gordon will take a huge burden off Lindsay in 2020 and we’ll see a lot more from him in terms of big plays where Pat Shurmur designs plays to get Lindsay out in space. He should be a much bigger factor in the passing game too. He has snagged 35 receptions in each of his first two seasons, but it often felt like his role there was just to be an outlet for the quarterback to dump it off to. I think we’ll see better play calls for Lindsay in the passing game next season.

Will he top 1,000 yards for the third straight season? That I’m not too sure about. A lot will depend on how well Melvin Gordon works out on the offense. While we all hope that signing is going to mean fewer reps for Lindsay, so he is kept fresh and explosive, Gordon still has to prove he’s not the first round bust he sort of has been since coming into the league. If he flames out, then Lindsay will once again have to pick up the slack at running back.

The bad

I’d put his small frame in here as a “bad”, but Lindsay has proven he can handle an NFL workload and remain relatively healthy through an entire season. The bad, instead, is that despite John Elway talking about a long-term extension for Lindsay earlier this year, he instead signed Melvin Gordon to a fairly expensive contract.

“Yeah, we’ll look at that,” Elway said during the Broncos end of the year presser. “Again, we’ll get back into when we start planning and budgeting for 2020 and where we are money-wise. Obviously, Phillip has done a tremendous job and being the first college free agent to go over 1,000 yards (in two consecutive years to start his career). As Vic said last night, there are 32 dumb dumbs that didn’t draft him and I was one of them. Thank God we talked him into coming here.”

A little over two months later, the Broncos signed Gordon to a two-year deal for $16 million. And it doesn’t look like Lindsay will be seeing a new contract any time soon. He will earn $755k in 2020 and is scheduled to become a free agent after this season.

Final word

Phillip Lindsay could be the biggest key to the Broncos offense in 2020. With Drew Lock under center and all of those weapons at wide receiver, the linchpin to the offenses ability to become a dynamic scoring threat is how the running backs fare. There is no other player on the roster I’d rather have that kind of burden on than Lindsay. He’s got the heart and the desire.

Hopefully the Broncos find a way to bring Lindsay back for at least another 2-3 years. Long-term contracts for running backs rarely pan out in the NFL anymore, but a short-term deal that pays Lindsay what he is worth should be something Elway could at least look at, right?

Poll

What should the Broncos do with Lindsay after 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Get him a long-term deal ASAP
    (369 votes)
  • 63%
    Sign him to a shorter 2-3 year deal
    (684 votes)
  • 2%
    Let him walk after this season
    (23 votes)
1076 votes total Vote Now