Josh Gordon

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Cooks, Gordon

The 49ers (and certain fantasy owners) may well have to make other plans at tight end this week. George Kittle drew a doubtful designation for San Francisco’s pivotal Week 10 game against Seattle. The All-Pro candidate is battling knee and ankle injuries, and although he played eight games with torn rib cartilage last season, Kittle is likelier than not to miss the nationally televised game. Levine Toilolo and second-year UDFA Ross Dwelley reside as the other tight ends on the 49ers’ roster.

Veteran Garrett Celek could be activated from the PUP list, however. Celek has been dealing with a back injury for months but returned to practice this week, per ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner (on Twitter). While the 49ers are not against activating Celek for Monday, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required) the team would prefer he go through multiple practice weeks before debuting this season. Dwelley and Toilolo have combined to catch nine passes for 38 yards this season.

Here is the more from San Francisco and the latest from the NFC West:

  • In more promising 49ers injury news, the 49ers may get both of their tackles back this week. With Joe Staley expected to return this week, Mike McGlinchey may join him. The second-year right tackle worked in three limited practices this week. He has been out since Week 5 due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Staley also participated in three limited practices this week. Despite both of San Francisco’s tackles being out for much of the season, the 49ers’ run game ranks second in the NFL.
  • The team’s Chase McLaughlin acquisition will likely lead to game work. Robbie Gould joins Kittle in being given a doubtful status. Gould, who has not missed a game since his 49ers tenure began in 2017, is dealing with a quad injury.
  • In advance of the Rams‘ road assignment against the Steelers, Brandin Cooks has spent time in Pittsburgh because of concussion trouble. Cooks has made multiple trips to Pittsburgh to meet with doctors over the past two weeks, Omar Ruiz of USA Today tweets. The Rams wide receiver remains in concussion protocol and is out for Sunday’s game. Cooks has suffered two concussions this season, one in 2018 and one in Super Bowl LII. The 26-year-old receiver is not considering retirement and still wants to return this season (Instagram link).
  • Josh Gordon‘s Seahawks debut is likely set for Monday night. Despite being on the Patriots’ IR list to start last week, Gordon was not listed on the Seahawks’ injury report. Pete Carroll said there’s a “good chance” the recent waiver pickup plays against the 49ers, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The former All-Pro played in six Patriots games, catching 20 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown.

NFC Notes: Gordon, Dak, Falcons, Bucs

There’s natural excitement for Josh Gordon‘s debut with the Seahawks, but Pete Carroll cautioned that the organization isn’t setting any expectations for the talented wideout.

“I’m telling you, I’m just waiting to see him,” Carroll said Monday (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “I’ve seen him on film. He looks pretty special. He’s got a good history of making plays and all that, but I want to see him when he mixes with our guys and really just take it one step at a time with no expectations of how much he would contribute or play or whatever. I’m just going to see what happens.”

Gordon was sidelined in mid-October by a knee injury, and he was placed on the injured reserve and later cut by the Patriots. Despite the ailment, Carroll said the receiver is ready to go.

“Yeah, he’s been cleared to go,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to go, so Thursday when we get rolling again, he’ll be going. He’s in the building, studying and all that, getting ready. We’ll see how it goes.”

Let’s check out some more notes out of the NFC…

  • During the Cowboys‘ bye week, quarterback Dak Prescott had four wisdom teeth removed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Through the first half of tonight’s contest against the Giants, Prescott has completed 11 of his 20 pass attempts for 137 yards, one touchdown, and a pick.
  • The Falcons made a number of coaching changes this afternoon, according to Will McFadden of the team’s website. Wide receivers coach Raheem Morris will be the Falcons new secondary coach, while running backs coach Dave Brock will move back to his old position of wide receivers coach. Offensive assistant/assistant special teams coach Bernie Parmalee will become the team’s new running backs coach. We learned this weekend that head coach Dan Quinn would keep his job through the bye week.
  • Ronald Jones has secured the Buccaneers starting running back gig, coach Bruce Arians told ESPN’s Jenna Laine. The former second-rounder started the year in a timeshare with Peyton Barber, and he’s responded by rushing for 381 yards and averaging 4.1 yards per carry. “He’s been consistent (and) he’s been more explosive. It’s not that Peyton did anything wrong,” Arians said. The coach added that T.J. Logan and Dare Ogunbowale will also see reps at running back.

Extra Points: Eagles, Gordon, Mahomes

Running back Jordan Howard had somewhat of a breakout game last week during the Eagles’ win over the Bills, and now he’ll have a chance at revenge when he takes on the Bears on Sunday. Chicago, of course, shipped him off to Philly back in March. Howard got less and less productive toward the end of his time in Chicago, and he’s clearly enjoyed the change of scenery. Speaking to the media recently, the fourth-year back and impending free agent said he knows exactly where he wants to sign in the offseason. “I would love to be back,” Howard said, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports. “I’m loving Philly. So I would definitely love to be back. I’m loving my teammates and the city. I would definitely love to be back.” Howard turned 25 today (happy birthday Jordan), and has formed a solid one-two punch with rookie Miles Sanders. The Eagles’ running game has been a weakness the past couple of years, but it seems like things could finally be turning a corner.

Here’s more from around the league as we await kickoff:

  • The Seahawks were awarded Josh Gordon off waivers earlier this week, and some were surprised he lasted that long. Seattle was the only team willing to take the plunge though, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network passed along in a tweet that the Seahawks were the only team to submit a claim. They were 28th in the order, so that isn’t too shocking. Gordon won’t play this weekend, but with Tyler Lockett and promising rookie D.K. Metcalf also in the fold, the Seahawks quietly have one of the league’s more talented receiving corps.
  • While the Seahawks were the only team to try and claim Gordon off waivers, they would’ve faced significant competition had he hit the open market. Nine teams wanted to bring Gordon in for a workout and a physical, his agent told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Florio points out that teams might’ve thought they could get Gordon for cheaper than his $2MM salary if they waited until after he cleared waivers. The fact that so many teams wanted to see him workout before adding him also suggests there might be some lingering concern about his knee injury that cause him to go on injured reserve in the first place.
  • For a while it’s been assumed that the Chiefs aren’t going to rush Patrick Mahomes back and play him on Sunday against the Vikings, but that’s apparently not set in stone. There is still a chance Mahomes will suit up, sources told Ed Werder of ESPN (Twitter link). It would still be pretty surprising, and for now it’s safe to assume Matt Moore will be under center for the second consecutive week. In other Kansas City news, Werder writes that stud defensive tackle Chris Jones is expected to be active, and that the team is “hopeful” on star pass-rusher Frank Clark. Obviously Mahomes is the biggest name, but those would be two huge get-backs for their defense for this suddenly pivotal game. The Chiefs have lost three of their last four and now sit at just 5-3.

Seahawks Claim Josh Gordon

The Seahawks have claimed Josh Gordon off waivers from the Patriots. With that, they’ve added one of the game’s most lethal wide receivers for the home stretch of the 2019 season.

Things have never been simple or straightforward for the simultaneously kind-hearted, troubled, and immensely talented Gordon. This year was no exception.

Gordon had his highs, including six catches for 83 yards in a September blowout of the Jets. Then, unfortunately, came the lows. Late last month, the Patriots placed Gordon on injured reserve due to left knee and ankle trouble. The Pats felt that Gordon would not be able to play again this season. Gordon, meanwhile, says he’ll be ready to play sometime next week or the week after. The disagreement led to divorce, but the Patriots refused to let him go until after Tuesday’s trade deadline, when he would be subject to waivers and, in theory, kept away from contenders.

So much for that. The Seahawks, with a 6-2 record and No. 28 priority in the NFL’s waiver queue, landed Gordon, must to the surprise and delight of head coach Pete Carroll. Quarterback Russell Wilson is elated too – he suddenly has another playmaker to help stretch the field and give fits to opposing defenses.

Gordon, 28, tallied 20 catches for 287 yards and one touchdown in six games this year. At times, he flashed (get it?) the ability that propelled him to an absurd 87/1,646/9 stat line in 2013, a campaign that resulted in Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro nods.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Josh Gordon

The Patriots waited until Thursday afternoon to release Josh Gordon from injured reserve, and that was a deliberate move, as Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. After the trade deadline, all released players are subject to the waiver wire, regardless of their service time. That means that Gordon, one of the most skilled wide receivers in the NFL, wouldn’t get anywhere near the league’s contenders. 

It’s possible that Gordon could go unclaimed on the waiver wire, allowing him to sign with AFC contenders like the Ravens, but that seems unlikely at the moment. As Breer notes, if Gordon walks from a team as an unrestricted free agent in March, that club could receive a compensatory draft pick for virtually nothing. The Dolphins, for example, have paid over $10MM for additional fourth, fifth, and sixth-round picks, so a late draft pick at the cost of $1MM in remaining salary to Gordon would be a relative bargain.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the current Top 10 waiver priority in the NFL:

1. Dolphins: 0-7
2. Bengals: 0-8
3. Redskins: 1-7
4. Falcons: 1-7
5. Jets: 1-6
6. Giants: 2-6
7. Broncos: 2-6
8. Buccaneers: 2-6
9. Browns: 2-5
10. Chargers: 3-5

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots To Release Josh Gordon

The Patriots are releasing Josh Gordon from injured reserve, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Patriots feel that Gordon will not be healthy enough to play this season, but the wide receiver believes otherwise, so this move will give him the opportunity to hook on elsewhere. 

In Gordon’s estimation, he’ll be good to go sometime next week, or the week after. Because the move comes after Oct. 29, Gordon will be subject to the waiver wire. The league’s 31 other teams will have a crack at Gordon, and his contract, before he’s potentially able to hit the open market. Waiver priority, meanwhile, is determined by 2019 records.

By not releasing Gordon now, the Patriots may be banking on the talented pass catcher being claimed by a struggling team rather than one the defending Super Bowl champions will be competing with for this year’s title. Waiver priority is now sorted by teams’ 2019 records. The 0-8 Bengals will get the first shot at Flash, followed by the 0-7 Dolphins, and so on.

The former Browns All-Pro is dealing with two knee contusions, but his off-the-field trouble represents his biggest red flag for teams. On the other hand – he’s supremely talented and his contract has just $2MM salary attached.

So far this year, Gordon has 20 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Brady, Pats, Jets

With the departures of both Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown, Tom Brady has grown increasingly “frustrated” with the turnover at wide receiver, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. It has been no secret that Brady invested a large amount of time in trying to mesh with both Gordon and Brown and get them up to speed with the offense. At one point, Brady even offered to have Brown stay at his house after he was signed.

With the recent trade for Mohamed Sanu, Brady is now left with having to get yet another receiver up to speed with the offense. The two already sound like they’re already building a strong connection, and ultimately Sanu should prove to be a much better fit in the offense than Gordon ever was, and much more reliable and durable than him or Brown could have been. Through seven games, Sanu has 33 receptions for 313 yards and a touchdown.

With the reports that Brady’s future with the Patriots after this year is uncertain, this “frustration” is sure to add fuel to the fire that the six-time Super Bowl winner may be elsewhere at the start of the 2020 season.

Here are some more developments from the AFC East:

  • Although it is common for some players to still take part in team meetings and be around their club while being on IR, that will not be the case for Josh Gordon, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. Sources told Reiss that there were multiple factors that ultimately led to Gordon being placed on IR, with what was viewed as an overall decline in his dependability as part of the tipping point for Belichick to make the decision.
  • C.J. Mosley, who has missed the majority of the season with a groin injury, is expected to be out a few more weeks, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. It has been speculated that Mosley, who signed a big deal with the Jets this past offseason, could end up missing the rest of the season if the groin injury does not improve. In the two games he’s played this season, Mosley has compiled nine tackles, with one interception and a fumble recovery.
  • With the release of Kelechi Osemele after he elected to undergo an unapproved shoulder surgery, the way the Jets handled the situation has raised some eyebrows around the league, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. One personnel executive told Cimini that: “It’s a bad optic for the team and it sends a bad message to the locker room. What are they thinking?” It remains to be seen what effect, if any, this saga has on future players signing with the Jets.

Latest On Patriots, Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon may have a third NFL employer soon. The Patriots wide receiver currently sits on IR but is expected to be healthy in a week or two, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com. This would clear the way to the New England departure that’s been expected.

The Patriots used a minor injury designation on Gordon and must jettison him from their IR list once he’s again healthy. Should this transaction take place after Tuesday, the 28-year-old wideout will be subject to waivers. All players cut after the trade deadline must pass through waivers.

By not releasing Gordon now, the Patriots may be banking on the talented pass catcher being claimed by a struggling team rather than one the defending Super Bowl champions will be competing with for this year’s title. Waiver priority is now sorted by teams’ 2019 records.

The former Browns All-Pro is dealing with two knee contusions. Gordon missed the Patriots’ Week 7 game but has resumed sprinting. He has 20 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown this season.

The eighth-year receiver represents far from a safe bet as a waiver claim, however, having suspensions nullify games in each season from 2012-18. Although, he was on pace for his first 1,000-yard season since 2013 last year and is attached to only a $2MM salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots WR Josh Gordon’s Future Uncertain, Placed On IR

For a moment it appeared that Josh Gordon‘s season is over. On Wednesday, the Patriots placed the wide receiver on injured reserve with a knee injury (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). However, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweeted out that Gordon believes he is close to returning to play. Garafolo opines that “he’s likely done with the #Patriots but could be available for teams as a free agent soon.”

According to Albert Breer of MMQB.com, that a source says Gordon should be medically cleared to play soon. Mentioning that his injury is minor and he recently ran at 22 miles per hour on a treadmill in a recent workout.

Gordon was forced out of the Patriots’ Thursday night win over the Giants a few weeks back and was unable to take the field against the Jets. The Pats did just fine without him against Gang Green, but the injury pushed them to trade for Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu on Tuesday. At the time, the trade was a bit of a head-scratcher. Now, it makes more sense. The Patriots are down a second-round pick after the deal, but they have a quality replacement for Gordon in Sanu.

This development is the next chapter in Gordon’s rollercoaster career. Back in 2013, Gordon was asserting himself as one of the best receivers in football. Even within a mediocre Browns offense, Gordon made 87 receptions for nine touchdowns and a league best 1,646 receiving yards. What fans at the time failed to realize was Gordon’s ongoing battle with substance abuse.

Gordon’s difficulties with substances, especially marijuana, combined with the NFL’s severe substance abuse policy led him to receive numerous suspensions, including a year long ban for the 2015 season. He attempted to return to the Browns in 2016, but failed another drug test and eventually stepped away, missing another season.

He finally returned to the field in 2017 where he appeared in five games for Cleveland and hauled in 18 receptions for 335 yards. In 2018, after starting the season with the Browns, the Patriots decided to take a flier on the receiver and he was in the midst of a productive season before he once again had to step away from football for his own mental health.

The future is once again uncertain for Gordon. Assuming the Patriots do grant Gordon’s release, now that Sanu and Emmanuel Sanders have been traded, other teams in the market for receiving upgrades would surely line up to give Gordon another opportunity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Gronk, Patriots, WRs, Draft

Rob Gronkowski debuted as a FOX analyst Thursday night, but his former job continues to come up. Robert Kraft has yet to give up hope on the future Hall of Fame tight end returning to the Patriots.

We all love Gronk, and I think the bottom line is he hasn’t put his retirement papers in,” Kraft said during an NFL Network appearance (Twitter link). “We can always pray and hope …. That’s a good academic argument that there is hope for us still with Gronk.”

The 30-year-old New England icon has continually denied he wants to come out of retirement but refuses to completely slam the door on a possible 10th season. Gronkowski said during his intro FOX broadcast he will “always keep the door open” for a Pats return. He said in August he was healthy enough to play. The team lost Josh Gordon in the first half of tonight’s game, and although it does not seem like the injury is serious — Gordon is questionable to return — the Pats’ offense is not as well-rounded as it was when Gronk created constant mismatches.

Here is the latest from around the league and the 2020 draft:

  • The Patriots’ high-profile attempt at bringing in a Gronk-level talent ended with Antonio Brown‘s release after 11 days. Brown remains accused of sexual misconduct by two women. The first, Britney Taylor, refiled her civil suit against the unemployed wide receiver in Florida state court, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). Taylor’s attorneys categorize this as a strategic move and indicated new counsel has joined the case. A league investigation is ongoing as well. No team has been closely connected to the 31-year-old superstar since the Patriots cut him last month.
  • As for elite wideouts still in the league, evaluators shared some interesting views in a piece by The Athletic similar to its quarterback-tiers arrangement. Odell Beckham Jr. and Tyreek Hill join Julio Jones on the top tier here, with NFL personnel viewing DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas as high-second-tier talents (subscription required). Hopkins’ penchant for contested catches prompted one OC to indicate the fear factor surrounding the Texans wideout is not the same as it is when game-planning for Jones or Beckham.
  • Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses is set to miss all of his junior season because of a knee injury, but the might-have-been first-round talent still has NFL supporters should he declare for the 2020 draft. A group of NFL evaluators view Moses as being a second- or third-round prospect in 2020, Mike Rodak of al.com notes. Moses would be one of many Crimson Tide draftees in the 2020 draft, should he declare, with ESPN.com’s Todd McShay ranking six Alabama standouts in his top 30.