Written By Jason Feiner
First reported on Saturday, the Cleveland Browns informed troubled but talented receiver Josh Gordon and the rest of the NFL that they were planning to release him on Monday. The decision to leak this to the public has paid off, as the Browns have reached an agreement with the New England Patriots for a 5th round conditional pick in the 2019 NFL Draft in exchange for Gordon. If he fails to be active for 10 games, the compensation changes from a 5th to 7th round selection.
Gordon will be playing on a $790,000 contract and will be a restricted free agent following 2018. With that contract structure a trade seemed likely, as New England now possesses two years of control over Gordon’s rights.
Josh Gordon has spent his entire career in Cleveland after being selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft. In a career highlighted by a spectacular 2013 campaign that saw him reel in 87 balls for a league leading 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns, Gordon has battled substance abuse throughout his tenure with the Browns. Following the 2013 season, Gordon was suspended for essentially the next three seasons. Spending time in a rehabilitation center while on the commissioner’s exempt list, Gordon rejoined the team last fall, but wished to take more time to focus on his mental health and substance abuse. He has played in just 11 of a possible 65 games since 2013.
Now with his troubled past seemingly in the rearview mirror, New England has decided to take a gamble on the game-changing receiver. Gordon could add fuel to New England’s passing situation, which currently features an underwhelming group riddled with question marks. With Julian Edelman suspended for the next two weeks, the Patriots depth chart consists of Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Matthew Slater. In a week two loss that presented the true weakness of the Patriots receiving corps, Phillip Dorsett led the team with an unimpressive 4 receptions for 44 yards.
A change may be needed to make the Patriots the favorite of the AFC once again, and Josh Gordon could become the match that lights their candle.
In a situation that resembles the Randy Moss trade in April of 2007, Josh Gordon could light the league on fire with the chance to catch balls from Tom Brady. In 2007, that trade reignited Moss’ career and birthed one of the greatest offenses in NFL history. With similar potential on the table, the Patriots look to resurrect Gordon’s career from the shadows.