By Matt Ferris
On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Cleveland Browns announced they would be releasing their troubled but extremely talented wide receiver, Josh Gordon.
But Cleveland received so much interest from other teams for Gordon, they decided trading him was the best option.
Many teams came knocking, but ultimately, the New England Patriots won the bidding war and acquired Gordon and a seventh-round pick for a fifth-round pick.
The Browns originally drafted Gordon in the second round of the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft. Gordon played his college ball at Baylor, where he was kicked off the team for failing a drug test for marijuana.
Gordon showed promise in his rookie season with Cleveland, playing in all 16 games. He was among all the top rookie wide receivers with just over 800 yards and five touchdowns.
In the off-season before the 2013 season, Gordon got himself into more trouble involving drugs. He failed another test for marijuana and was suspended for two games. He came back and played in the rest of the Browns’ 14 games and was the best receiver in the NFL, accumulating a league-best 1,646 yards for the season.
Gordon found himself in more trouble during the next off-season as he was arrested for driving while impaired and suspended for the whole season. He appealed and got his punishment reduced to 10 games. When Gordon returned, he was not effective, only catching for 300 yards in his five games.
In the next off-season, Gordon again violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy and was suspended for the entire season.
He also missed the entire 2016 season after failing another drug test for marijuana. He ultimately checked into a rehab facility during the season to get himself clean.
Eventually, the NFL reinstated Gordon in week 13 of the 2017 season. He played in the final five games of the season for the Browns and caught for 300 yards.
This season, Gordon played in one of the Browns’ first two games and has one catch for 17 yards.
After missing a mandatory team meeting, the Browns decided to cut ties with the receiver, sending him to New England.
This could be a terrific move for the Patriots. While Gordon hasn’t had the best track record in his career, coming to New England could turn things around for him.
The Patriots have a reputation of being a very strict team, which could be exactly what Gordon needs to stay clean.
Not to mention there is virtually no risk for the Patriots. Yes, they sent their fifth-round pick, but they are not losing a pick in the deal, because Cleveland is sending a seventh-rounder right back.
New England also has a history of turning troubled players around and getting the most out of them.
In 2007, the Patriots acquired Randy Moss, who also had his off-the-field issues. In all three of the seasons they had him, he caught for at least 1,000 yards and had double-digit touchdowns.
The Patriots’ trade for Gordon could be exactly what the struggling offense needs. An elite outside receiver should take some of the attention off the Patriots’ biggest weapon, Rob Gronkowski, and give him more opportunities.
If Gordon stays clean and healthy, the Patriots may have made one of the best trades in recent memory.