Cleveland Browns should listen if teams call about Josh Gordon
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns should be open to the idea of trading wide receiver Josh Gordon, but only under the right scenario.
Only the most obtuse of fans would fail to acknowledge that the Cleveland Browns are in full-on rebuilding mode.
The team heads into the 2016 NFL season with yet another new coaching staff and front office, yet another veteran bridge quarterback keeping the seat warm, and more first- and second-year players on the roster than seems possible (49 are currently on the 90-man roster).
That is why executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown should at least answer the phone this summer if another team calls about wide receiver Josh Gordon.
The conditional reinstatement of Gordon from his latest suspension helped kick off the week and sent some positive vibes through the fan base, many of whom are expecting to immediately see Gordon return to his 2013 form, when he led the NFL in receiving yards.
But the reality is that Gordon has only played five games in the past two years and it is going to take him some time to get back into game shape. His quad injury, which is expected to keep him out for the first two weeks of training camp, along with his four-game suspension to start the season will combine to slow down that process.
The bigger issue is that Gordon is just one misstep away from another indefinite suspension from the NFL. And as we have all seen in the past, it has been far-to-easy for Gordon to find that misstep.
Gordon has vowed that this time he is committed to change and the Browns are working hard to put a structure in place to help Gordon. If it turns out that Gordon is truly ready to be an NFL player, then there is no question he can help the Browns on the field. But he is also just one of 53 players who will be on the final roster, and there is only so much time that head coach Hue Jackson (or anyone on the staff for that matter) can devote to just one player.
Put all that together and it becomes clear that if the right scenario presents itself, the Browns should give strong consideration to moving Gordon in a trade.
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Thanks to the moves they made during draft weekend, when the Browns sent a clear message that the rebuilding process was in full swing, the Browns hold their own first-round draft pick plus the first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2017 NFL Draft. They also have their own second-round pick along with the second-round pick of the Tennessee Titans.
As the Browns, Eagles and Titans are all expected to be among the league’s worst teams this fall, the Browns are looking at the very real prospect of holding top five selections in the first two rounds of next spring’s draft.
Let’s say a team like the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts or Green Bay Packers lose a wide receiver during the preseason and give the Browns a call about Gordon. If they are desperate enough, the Browns could extract a 2017 first-round draft pick in a trade. That may be a bit far-fetched, but playoff contenders can do strange things if they have Super Bowl dreams and the Browns once got a first-round pick for Trent Richardson, so anything is possible.
Even though that pick would be at or near the bottom of the first round, it would mean the Browns would head into next spring’s draft potentially holding five of the first 37 picks (or higher) and, along with it, an unprecedented opportunity to transform the franchise.
Next: Can Josh Gordon avoid being a one-year wonder?
This isn’t to advocate the Browns shopping Gordon, which by everything Brown and head coach Hue Jackson have said this week is not a consideration. But if the phone does ring between now and Oct. 9, when Gordon is eligible to return to the field, then Brown needs to at least take the call and see what he can get.