But it appears they might not be releasing the 27-year-old after all. NFL insider Adam Schefter is reporting the Browns will actually be trading Gordon and Ian Rapoport says up to five teams are interested in acquiring him.
The case for Josh Gordon
Gordon is certainly an intriguing talent. At 6-3, 225 pounds, he boasts a good blend of size and athleticism. He had an incredible 2013 campaign with Cleveland when he logged 87 receptions for a whopping 1,646 yards (18.9 average!) and nine receiving touchdowns. He also rushed for 88 yards on five attempts that year. Gordon accomplished those numbers despite having the likes of Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer as his quarterbacks that year.
If there are any doubts about his talent, which I doubt there are, just watch his highlights.
Now for the part when the Eagles come in. They’ve obviously been looking receiver help recently. The Eagles showed interest in the following wide outs this week: Corey Coleman (signed with the Patriots), Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken (signed with the Eagles), and Shane Wynn. Coleman and Perriman are worth highlighting as former first-round picks who flamed out with the teams that originally drafted them. Gordon’s situation isn’t identical to theirs, of course, but it’s not totally dissimilar to that mold.
The Eagles are interested in receiver help since their current corps isn’t in great shape. Their current group of receivers combined for a mere 43 receiving yards on nine receptions (a putrid 4.7 yards per reception) in Week 1. Projected No. 1 receiver Alshon Jeffery returned to practice this week but he still hasn’t been cleared for contact drills. Mack Hollins isn’t eligible to return to the active roster until after Week 8 since he was placed on injured reserve. Shelton Gibson, who is questionable for Sunday’s game, popped up on the injury report with a knee injury. If he can’t play, the Eagles will be down to the following receivers against the Buccaneers: Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, DeAndre Carter, and the aforementioned Aiken. Not ideal.
Adding Gordon at a low-risk cost feels like the kind of move reigning NFL Executive of the Year Howie Roseman would make. The cap-strapped Eagles are in position to take a risk on Gordon’s affordable $790,001 cap hit this year. Not to mention that he’s set to be a restricted free agent after this season, which means he should be relatively cheap and easy to retain for at least one more year beyond 2018.
Again, if the cost is low, why not take a risk on Gordon?
The case against Josh Gordon
Although talented, Gordon is clearly troubled. He’s played in just 11 out of 65 possible regular season games since the 2014 season. Gordon missed two entire seasons after being suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy and then checking himself into a rehabilitation facility.
After being patient with him for so long, the Browns finally decided they’re done with him. There are a number of reasons why that appears to be the case. A sampling:
On Josh Gordon: He was late today to the facility, source said. In addition, he was fine at Friday’s practice, then injured his hamstring. The question of how is part of the reason they released him. My understanding is it’s an overall trust issue for a player on thin ice.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2018
Updated: #Browns Gordon showed up late to the facility on Saturday morning and was 'not himself.' Red flag for possible substance use was the concern of some in the org, sources tell clevelanddotcom https://t.co/KMdBeX9JVO— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) September 15, 2018
Josh Gordon is a nice guy and I hope he figures out life. But he doesn’t love football and never has. They had to beg him to play at Baylor. Sad waste of amazing talent— Jason Cole (@JasonCole62) September 15, 2018
I saw Gordon practice in Gainesville one day. Showed up late. Forgot his shoes. Spent 10 minutes worried about the speaker for his music. Found shoes, practiced the whole time in sunglasses. He doesn’t care.— Jason Cole (@JasonCole62) September 15, 2018
Gordon is just way too unreliable for the Eagles to give up any kind of significant resources to acquire him.
And even though Philadelphia’s receiving corps situation might seem dire, all hope is not lost. Jeffery is expected to be back sooner than later. Hollins should be ready to play after Week 8. Wallace was held without a catch in Week 1, yes, but the speedy vet ran two of the top 10 fastest routes in the league per Sheil Kapadia. Agholor had a very strong training camp and there’s reason to believe he’ll be more effective than he was against Atlanta. Carter and Gibson had good summers as well; they earned their roster spots. I think the Eagles can ultimately get by with the pass catchers they already have.
Again, if the Eagles can acquire Gordon for very little risk (like a sixth-round pick), then I guess sure, why not.
Ultimately, though, I think the idea of Gordon is much more tantalizing than the reality of him. How can a team truly trust he’s not going to get suspended for violating the league’s conduct policy once again? He’s skating on very, very thin ice.
I think too often fans get obsessed with the idea of their team getting a “steal.” We see this in the draft every year with players falling lower than expected. Sometimes taking a chance on those guys works out. But there are many times when it just doesn’t and in hindsight it wasn’t hard to see why teams passed on those guys.
It’s fun to think about the Eagles adding Gordon at a low cost and him coming in and being this awesome weapon for the reigning Super Bowl champs. But I just think that’s much more fantasy than it is reality.
Besides, I think there are teams even more desperate for receiver help than the Eagles out there. Can’t you just see the Cowboys going after Gordon? And then him ultimately not working out there just like a number of other troubled players they’ve take chances on?
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