Gordon is expected to play for the Patriots on Sunday night against the Lions, Schefter reports (via Twitter). The Patriots will receive a 2019 seventh-round pick from the Browns if Gordon is unable to play 10 games with New England this season, per Schefter (on Twitter).
This trade was initially supposed to be for a sixth-round pick, but with New England not having a 2019 sixth, Schefter adds Cleveland will receive a fifth for Gordon. The Browns wanted to send Gordon to the NFC, and Schefter tweets they discussed the seventh-year wideout with the Cowboys, Redskins and 49ers before the Patriots stepped up. The Gordon market was vast but not flush with strong offers, with Albert Breer of SI.com tweeting a sixth-rounder was set to get this deal done before the Pats agreed to part with a fifth.
The 27-year-old wide receiver recently underwent a hamstring MRI, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the scan came out fine. That would put him on track to play for his new team on Sunday night.
This ends a six-plus-year saga for Gordon in Cleveland. He’s leaving a team that’s won one game since the start of the 2016 season and heading to this era’s most successful franchise. Gordon could be controlled on his 2012 rookie contract through the 2019 season. He’s set to be a restricted free agent after 2018.
“John (Dorsey) got the best he could,” Hue Jackson said Monday (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com).
Some in the Browns’ organization believe Gordon slipped in his recovery program, per Cabot, who adds it wasn’t Gordon’s hamstring issue but his rampant off-field issues that finally prompted the Browns to cut the cord. They first announced they were planning to cut Gordon. That understandably generated a trade market for the mercurial talent, and Dorsey will add draft capital as a result. Although if Gordon proves healthy and available for the Pats, he’ll be worth more than a fifth-round pick.
But the Patriots are comfortable enough to make a deal. They are getting a player who delivered one of the greatest receiving seasons in NFL history, albeit way back in 2013, and one of the league’s most notorious suspension risks. Gordon’s missed all but 11 games since the start of the 2014 season.
Gordon will add not only to the extensive Browns-Pats pipeline that’s formed — joining Jamie Collins, Barkevious Mingo, Jason McCourty and Danny Shelton among notable players these franchises have exchanged recently — but represent another Bill Belichick reclamation project. He’ll join Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Chad Johnson and Albert Haynesworth in that club and represent more risk than each, given his history.
The Patriots, however, could well be facing a closing championship window — with Tom Brady now 41 — and have made 28 wide receiver transactions since the 2018 league year began. They’ve attempted for months to find weapons for Brady; they’ve now landed the most interesting possible piece.
New England is without Julian Edelman until after Week 4 and have been discussing receivers with other teams leading up to their Gordon deal. The former second-round supplemental pick joins a receiving corps headed by Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett.
Belichick will gamble the newest Patriot can stay on the field. Gordon missed all of the 2015 and ’16 seasons due to substance-abuse trouble, incurred a 10-game 2014 ban and did not suit up for the Browns until December 2017 post-reinstatement. Gordon also missed Browns training camp, reportedly checking himself into a rehab facility in fear of another substance-abuse relapse. He also admitted he’d played under the influence since high school, so his future with another organization will be interesting to follow.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.