Phillip Lindsay always has something to prove, even though the Denver Broncos running back is ninth in rushing yards and tied for 10th in touchdowns over the past two seasons (his only two years in the NFL). Lindsay entered the league with a chip on his shoulder as an undrafted free agent and wants to keep his job as the team’s No. 1 running back.
The Broncos added Melvin Gordon this offseason to challenge Lindsay, signing him to a two-year, $16 million deal — money that indicates Gordon will get the bulk of the carries — but not if Lindsay has anything to say about it.
“At the end of the day, does it matter? He’s here. I’m here,” Lindsay said, via the Broncos website. “When I get the opportunity to be in the game, I’m going to make explosive plays. That’s what it’s all about. I’m going to go from there.
“And that’s what it comes down to. And the fact is, I’m going to do that. So it doesn’t matter who they pay for or who they brought in, they’ve got to get through me and it’s very hard to do that.”
Lindsay has had to battle for his job before with Royce Freeman, who was drafted in the third round the same year Lindsay went undrafted (2018). The Broncos also tried to protect their investment in Devontae Booker, a 2016 fourth-round pick that Lindsay passed on the depth chart. Lindsay has rushed for 2,048 yards and 16 touchdowns in two seasons, averaging 4.92 yards per carry (third amongst running backs that recorded over 400 carries).
Lindsay actually has more 1,000-yard seasons than Gordon (two to one), even though Gordon is tied for sixth in touchdown runs (18) over the past two seasons, despite playing just 24 games. Gordon has rushed for 4,240 yards and 36 touchdowns in five NFL seasons, averaging 4.0 yards per carry.
Winning the No. 1 running back job is important for Lindsay, but so is an impending payday. Lindsay is in the final year of his rookie deal and is earning a base salary of just $750,000 this year. Having another season similar to the past two years, and keeping the No. 1 running back job, could lead toward a potential deal similar to the one Gordon received in free agency.
Just more motivation for Lindsay to succeed, while continuing to silence the doubters.