Multiple teams have recently reached out to the Cleveland Browns about acquiring wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon, you might remember, was outstanding during the 2013 season, compiling a league-leading 1,646 yards. He didn’t exactly have Johnny Unitas throwing to him, either–Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell were Cleveland’s starting quarterbacks that year.
Of course, we haven’t seen much of Gordon over the past two years because, as Stephen A. Smith would say, he CAN’T STAY OFF THE WEEEEEEDD! But he’ll be back on the field in 2016 as early as Week 5 after he serves a four-game suspension for his latest positive drug test.
The Browns reportedly don’t want to trade Gordon. Is that the right decision? Absolutely not. Cleveland should be thrilled that teams are showing interest in their talented, yet troubled wideout and they should dump him to the highest bidder.
Talent wins games–there’s no denying that. And the Cleveland Browns, perhaps more so than any other team in the NFL, are devoid of talent. But as important as having talented players is, successful teams–the New England’s, the Green Bay’s, the Denver’s of the world–cultivate a winning culture. Aside from Johnny Manziel, Gordon is the poster child for Cleveland’s misery over the past few years. He’s been consistently unreliable, and if Hue Jackson and the Brown’s new front office wants to turn this downtrodden franchise around, they need to seriously listen to these offers.
Here’s another reason why Cleveland should trade their former star: There is actually interest in him! Sure, Gordon has been pretty impressive in the preseason so far. But after essentially missing the last two years (he played only five games in 2014), who is to say Gordon will be anywhere near as good as he was in 2013? In short, Gordon’s stock may not ever be as high as it is now.
With those questions looming, you might ask how Gordon’s stock could be this high right now. Simple: There are teams out there intrigued by what he did a few years ago. Moreover, he’s only twenty-five years old. He’s still young! And by not playing the past two seasons, he surely might have a lot more mileage on him.
Yet from Cleveland’s perspective, they can’t let Gordon’s “potential” get in the way of reality. He’s been unreliable before and there is no indication that anything has changed. Remember, he’s only one failed drug test away from never playing another down. The Browns should get rid of him while there is still time.
With that said, the price needs to be right for Cleveland to move Gordon. A second or third round pick sounds about right. If they don’t receive that kind of offer, though, then it certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to keep a guy that once led the NFL in receiving on an offense that projects to be pretty weak this year.
However, simply passing up attractive offers for the troubled wideout is foolish. Doing so indicates that Cleveland’s new front office may not have the Browns moving in the right direction after all.
Gordon photo #1 courtesy of Getty Images; Gordon photo #2 courtesy of Getty Images