Given that all, or most, of the news regarding Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Josh Gordon has been off the field it is a pleasure to talk about him on the field. SI.com has come out with their Top 10 Wide Receiver list of which Gordon is ranked #5:
5. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
Were it not for Gordon’s off-field transgressions, which could have him missing the entire 2014 season, he might be right behind Megatron on our list. In 2013, his second year in the NFL, Gordon caught 87 passes for a league-leading 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games (he missed the first two due to another suspension), and he did so with a quarterback “rotation” that included Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer. Gordon can beat any defender downfield, and he’s got as much talent as any young player in the league. It appears, to use the cliché, that the only player who can stop Josh Gordon is Josh Gordon.
Gordon is a very difficult player to rank as he is young, led the league in receiving while being suspended 2 games, has played with some mediocre to bad quarterbacks and will have looming suspension issues over his head for the rest of his career. SI notes that Gordon would be ranked #2, behind Calvin Johnson, if not for all of his issues. High praise with so many talented receivers in the league today.
For the Browns Gordon’s off the field issues could benefit them in one way: contract negotiations. If Gordon had no off the field issues he would likely command a salary that Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine could struggle to validate given their values and scheme. Instead Gordon’s off the field issues could allow the Browns to sign him to a long term deal, with tons of protections and incentives, without breaking the bank. The other reality is that Gordon wouldn’t have gone the Supplemental Draft route had he not had off the field issues.
Based on pure talent alone Gordon is likely to succeed in any scheme. With the young, stellar offensive line, a stable of running backs and Jordan Cameron the Browns would have a great offense if the receiving core was led by Gordon. Gordon would open up the field for speedster Andrew Hawkins as well as great route runner Miles Austin and the big tight end Cameron.
Where would you rank Gordon? How much does the off the field issues impact your ranking?