The Browns-Patriots trade pipeline might be set to produce its biggest deal yet. The Patriots are discussing a deal for Josh Gordon, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter) they are getting close to hammering out an agreement.
Cleveland announced intentions of jettisoning its mercurial pass-catching talent on Saturday, and as many as 10 teams have contacted the Browns about Gordon. The Patriots appear to be one of them. They’ve been discussing wideouts with other teams as well, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter).
New England would make sense for Gordon, given its issues at wide receiver and Tom Brady now in his age-41 season. The superstar wideout would be an upgrade for the Pats, who are still two games away from getting Julian Edelman back. Edelman and Gordon obviously do not have similar skill sets, so the two could (on paper) coexist for a team trying to keep its Super Bowl championship window open.
While not all of Bill Belichick‘s gambles have worked out, the additions of Corey Dillon in 2004 and Randy Moss three years later paid off massively for the Patriots. Gordon has encountered far more trouble than either but is not believed to be facing another suspension. He played in Week 1 for the Browns, catching a touchdown pass, but was deactivated on Sunday after apparently injuring his hamstring during a promotional video shoot.
The 49ers and Jets were believed to be interested, John Lynch admitted he inquired about the 27-year-old talent, and rumblings about a Gordon-to-Philadelphia scenario have surfaced. But Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports doesn’t believe the Eagles are in the Gordon hunt (Twitter link).
The Patriots may be willing to make the best offer. New England and Cleveland have agreed to deals on Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, Jason McCourty and Barkevious Mingo in recent years. A Gordon-to-Foxborough agreement, though, would easily surpass these in terms of headline impact.
Best known for his rampant unavailability and a historically dominant 2013 season, earning him a first-team All-Pro honor prior to his slew of suspension troubles, Gordon going to New England would be fascinating. He’s obviously never played with a quarterback on Brady’s level and has two possible years of team control on his 2012 rookie contract. Gordon will be a restricted free agent after this season.
Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett reside as the Pats’ top available receivers. No player is perhaps further away from being a sure thing than Gordon, his having missed all but 11 games since the start of the 2014 season, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes Gordon could potentially be had for a late-round pick. With so many teams inquiring, it’s conceivable Cleveland could net a mid-round selection for its most talented receiver, but Gordon’s baggage could limit the haul.