The timing of the Corey Coleman trade surprised some people, but it happened at the time that it did because of the impending status of Josh Gordon.
The organization explored trades for the 24-year-old wide receiver throughout the off-season, but never found a deal.
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Since the Browns have already started training camp, it seemed like they were going to give Coleman a chance to revive his career.
But instead the Browns made the move the week of the team’s first preseason game. Moving Coleman before the end of the preseason seemed to be an unnecessary risk.
Oftentimes, injuries will happen to key players throughout the NFL during the preseason and training camp. If the Browns wanted to maximize the trade value of Coleman, they should have waited until the end of the preseason was near and see if a team needed to replace an injured wide receiver.
So why did the Browns trade Coleman on Sunday and not wait until the beginning of the regular season? They needed Coleman’s roster spot to put Josh Gordon on the roster on Tuesday.
Since Gordon is on the non-football illness list and did not report, he currently does not take up a roster spot. But the Browns are trying to make sure that he is on the roster on Tuesday so he can accrue a season towards free agency.
Had Gordon not been placed on the roster by Tuesday, he would not have accrued a season towards free agency, and would have to wait to become a restricted free agent until 2020 – even if Gordon does not report to the team on Tuesday.
Once Gordon is placed on the roster on Tuesday, the Browns can move him to another reserve list, re-opening the roster spot until Gordon is actually ready to report to the team.
The Cleveland organization seems to be doing whatever is in the best interest of Gordon. They are truly trying to help him recover and not force him back on the football field until he is ready.
Despite how talented he is, most teams would have moved on from Gordon at this point. However, the Browns must believe that he is almost past everything that has held him back, and is ready to prove that he is one of the best receivers in the game.
They also seem confident that he will return to the team by the time the season starts. If they weren’t, they may not have moved Coleman in order to create the roster spot for Gordon.