Much has been made of the rumored 2013 trade that would have sent Browns receiver Josh Gordon to the 49ers nearly two years ago — the Niners were reportedly prepared to send Cleveland at least a second-round pick, but owner Jimmy Haslam is believed to have stepped in and shut down trade discussions. It turns out that San Francisco wasn’t the only team with whom the Browns had serious talks about Gordon that year. According to Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com, the Eagles also spoke to Cleveland in 2013 about a possible Gordon deal.
Sheridan reports that the trade, which was ultimately nixed by the Eagles, would have involved quarterback Nick Foles heading to Cleveland. For context, Foles had won just one of his six career starts for Philadelphia at that point, while Gordon was facing a two-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Both players ended up having outstanding 2013 campaigns, with Gordon leading the league in receiving yards and Foles tossing 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Their 2014 seasons were less successful, however — Gordon missed 10 games due to another suspension, and struggled to fit into the offense upon his return, while Foles had turnover problems in the first half and was eventually sidelined for the year with a broken collarbone.
Even though this isn’t exactly a current trade rumor, it’s still entertaining to imagine what might have been. With Foles under contract, the Browns presumably wouldn’t have Johnny Manziel on their current roster, and might be deciding this winter whether or not to extend Foles. As for Gordon, perhaps he’d still be dealing with the same off-field issues in Philadelphia, but given what we’ve heard about the Browns’ organization within the last few weeks, it’s fair to wonder if a change of scenery – not to mention a spot in Chip Kelly‘s offense – might have significantly altered the young wideout’s course over the last couple years.
Heading into 2015, there’s still some uncertainty surrounding both players, with Gordon facing at least a year-long suspension, and Foles entering the final year of his contract. Of course, Gordon’s NFL future is much more up in the air than Foles’, so if this swap was indeed on the table back in 2013, the Eagles’ front office should be happy it didn’t put the trigger.