There have been renewed talks of the Browns potentially trading wide receiver Josh Gordon again. The 49ers have been mentioned specifically by Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network. After head coach Rob Chudzinski had said the Browns were not looking to trade Gordon, there will be people with a raised eye brow, but it does seem as though teams are calling Cleveland to see if they can pry Gordon away rather than the Browns actively looking to move him. Rappaport said the Browns’ price was a second round pick for Gordon and if a team offers that much, with all due respect to Gordon’s enormous talent, the Browns should do it.
When the trade of Trent Richardson happened, there was talk by some that the Browns were on the verge of a fire sale. That fire has not even gone above that of a cinder, but this talk of Gordon keeps coming up because of his history with drugs and just how tenuous his stay in the NFL is right now. The next issue with drugs, no matter how small it may seem, come with a yearlong suspension. The hope is that reality will scare Gordon straight but he has not gone a year since he was in high school, so it is difficult to bet on the young man, even though he has all of the ability and potential to be a true franchise receiver and a huge building block for the Browns. Of that, there is no question with Gordon.
When the talk of this came up before, there was this article determining Gordon’s value and where the rubber would probably meet the road. The Browns, if Rappaport’s report is true, are saying that nothing short of a second round pick is worth enough to give up on the young man, which means they think he is an unbelievable talent, they think he can shape up and be a reliable player, or some combination of the two. Joe Banner does not seem like someone who is really interested in absorbing a lot of risk, especially when Gordon was not someone they picked and not someone they would have picked because of his issues.
If someone is willing to give a second round pick, the Browns should take it. If they keep Gordon and he gets suspended, they are in a terrible spot missing a key player for an entire year. And unless they hit on that franchise quarterback next year and are able to really nail the draft, it is difficult to imagine they are ready to make a serious push. As a result, that is another year where Gordon has to keep himself clean. Maybe the Browns would write off a drug suspension off as a season-ending injury, but it is not an easy pill to swallow for fans, teammates or the organization. If they deal him, they could potentially get another key player who is more reliable, but likely does not have the talent that Gordon brings to the table. It does not mean the Browns cannot use that pick to draft a superstar, but it is difficult to project that compared to what Gordon is already doing. Nevertheless, a player contributing on the field would obviously bring more impact than one suspended from it.
The Browns locker room put Gordon on notice along with the team, so there is significant concern from all parties about what Gordon is doing. Perhaps Gordon got the message and he is turning the corner on this whole thing. It will not be clear until they get to the offseason when they are not able to keep an eye on him, short of hiring him a fulltime babysitter like the Cowboys did with Dez Bryant. That might be their best option.
The trade for Trent Richardson caught everyone by surprise. This trade for Gordon would not be even remotely surprising, so it might be a false rumor to put media off of the scent of what is real news and what is gossip. The Browns have made most of their moves relatively quietly.
The trade deadline is fast approaching and it seems as though if the Browns were going to deal Gordon, they would have already done it as the NFL is not like other sports with trade deadline deals. So much is about learning the offense, knowing the playbook and having a great feel, which is difficult for a player who is just coming in, especially in Gordon’s case as he is just a second year player. It is possible that teams could come looking for a playmaking receiver to help them with a serious push this year and next, but Gordon’s value is likely as high as it is going to get, short of a big injury like what happened in Indianapolis with their running backs. Short of that, it is hard to imagine the Browns would get the second round pick they are demanding and it is possible they are setting that price knowing full well no one will offer it, but that is their Godfather price as was the case with Richardson. They got it with Richardson, but it remains to be seen with Gordon.