A report from CBS Sports has said that the Browns are taking offers on wide receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little as well as tight end Jordan Cameron. The two receivers’ names have been out there for a while but this is the first mention of Cameron’s name as a possible trade piece. Cameron is the one name on the Browns offense that appears to be a legitimate weapon and has no issues that would make a team want to move him. It is important to remember that the next one of these rumors that actually comes to fruition will be the first one these type of reports have gotten right and there is an element to this that stinks of the media trying to make the extended trade deadline into any of the other major sports in terms of deadline deals and moves that would change the balance of power in the NFL.
The merits of trading Gordon versus keeping him have been argued back and forth. He has the talent and potential to be not only a top receiving threat but one of the bigger threats in the NFL, but his past suggests he is a ticking time bomb when it comes to failing drug tests. The Browns might be able to get something out of a team desperate for wide receiver help that sees something in Little, but it seems unlikely. There is definitely talent there, but he needs to get better creating separation and being more consistent.
With all of the talk of trades, Cameron is the one name that Browns fans seemed to expect to be able to count on going into next season and beyond. After being a fourth round pick in 2011, Cameron took a couple years to get figured out before developing into a tremendous receiving threat this year. His blocking is still mediocre at best, but he has shown to be a big time weapon as a receiver. There has also been no indication of a personality or past that would suggest Cameron would need to be moved. That does not mean there could not be a reason to do so, but none that is publicly known.
If the reports are true that the Browns were expecting a second round pick for Gordon or perhaps more than that with all of the risk that comes with him, it would suggest the price for Cameron would be substantial; in the neighborhood of a first round pick and perhaps additional assets. In other words, Cameron might be available, but at a prohibitively high price that would yield a bigger haul than Trent Richardson did.
The track record for trades and moves with the Browns has been one of relative secrecy and the media has been unable to get any sort of bearing on what the Browns are really doing. The Richardson deal caught everyone by surprise, the signing of Desmond Bryant was out of nowhere and the only reason people were not surprised by Paul Kruger was that was largely speculated on beforehand rather than there being a bread crumb trail for people to follow leading up to the deal. Leading up to the draft, no one had a clue who the Browns were picking and they were able to land Barkevious Mingo. So the media could be right here, but their track record with this sort of thing is spotty at best.
The other aspect of this is this sense that people in the media and perhaps fans in general are trying to make the NFL into something it has never been with regards to trades. The NBA, Major League Baseball and the NHL all have some element of buzz when it comes to the trading deadline. The NBA has the largest of the bunch and that time in February becomes a big driving force for interest in the league for great teams potentially landing a piece that could improve their chances for a championship and bad teams trying to unload players to get more assets going forward. Whether the NFL itself is driving this or the media and fans, the fact the NFL has extended its trading deadline an additional two weeks has people exploring all kinds of trade rumors. While there could certainly be a market for Cameron and the Browns could be open to negotiating for his services, this seems to be at least partly due to the Richardson trade.
When the Browns traded Richardson, the thought was the Browns were tanking the season. Brian Hoyer gave them a spark before he got injured, so the mindset could be the Browns are looking to cash in on a resource and add to their 10 draft picks they have for next season. As much as this might be about legitimate interest, it seems like a large amount of this rumor mill is based off of the opinion people have of Joe Banner. None of the three players were of his choosing and with the Browns appearing to be dead in the water this season, of course he would want to get rid of the players he did not pick on an anemic offense to add to his draft stockpile.
If the Browns do trade Cameron, it would be extremely disappointing. As much as draft picks are great, the Browns appear to have a legitimate weapon that is young and has virtually no wear on his body from football to this point. He is exactly the type of player the Browns should be trying to build this offense around. They also have a coaching staff that adores the tight end position including Rob Chudzinski, who has been a tight ends coach on multiple occasions and Norv Turner, who has famously used few great ones. This would seemingly be cutting off their nose to spite their face.
Could the Browns draft a player of Cameron’s caliber? Perhaps, but he is young, has no injury history to speak of, and unless there is a problem no one is aware of in the locker room, is exactly what the Browns hope to find to build this team. To this point, the only trade the Browns have made is with Richardson and while they could be a team that looks to continue to make deals, the only one that is logical would be trading Gordon because of the risk involved. The Browns could be lying through their teeth when they say it, but it would be stunning if they did not deny this rumor in their media availability on Monday.