Josh Gordon

Patriots Release Dontrelle Inman, Place Josh Gordon On NFI List

Dontrelle Inman‘s run with the Patriots will end before the regular season. The Patriots are releasing the veteran wideout, Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets. The veteran wideout requested this move, and the team will oblige, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

This move will clear a path for Josh Gordon to make his way back onto New England’s roster. The Pats placed Gordon on their active/NFI list, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Gordon’s return indeed prompted Inman’s agent to seek a release for his client, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Inman joins a slew of notable veteran receivers the Patriots have parted ways with over the past two offseasons, following the likes of Kenny Britt, Eric Decker, Jordan Matthews and Bruce Ellington. Inman, 30, has produced fairly consistently when given the opportunity. He caught eight passes for 108 yards in the Colts’ two playoff games last season, and his abbreviated 2018 regular-season work graded well, per Football Outsiders. But the former Chargers auxiliary cog has not been able to stick around anywhere for long since leaving southern California.

Despite arriving in Indianapolis midseason, Inman recorded 28 receptions for 304 yards and three touchdowns. His best season, which featured 810 yards and four TDs, came with the 2016 Chargers. While teams have not viewed him as more than a stopgap, Inman nevertheless profiles as someone who could be an intriguing depth target for another team.

The NFL reinstated Gordon on Friday. The former All-Pro would be eligible for Week 1, once he comes off the Pats’ NFI list by August 31, and would then be in line to again be a key Patriots weapon. Bill Belichick did not commit to Gordon, but the Patriots tendering him as a restricted free agent this offseason provides a fairly clear indicator they are interested in a second Gordon season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reinstates Josh Gordon

The Patriots just got a huge boost as they look to defend their Super Bowl title. The NFL is reinstating receiver Josh Gordon, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Gordon filed for reinstatement a couple of weeks ago, and it didn’t take too long for Roger Goodell to let him back in. Gordon was indefinitely suspended back in December for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, but New England made it very clear they weren’t giving up on the talented young wideout. The Patriots tendered him a contract, and video surfaced in June of Gordon working out with Tom Brady.

Gordon isn’t allowed to report to the team until this Sunday and he won’t be able to play in next week’s preseason game, but he won’t have to serve any suspension to start the regular season, a source told Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). The Browns finally threw in the towel on Gordon at the beginning of last season, and the Patriots quickly swooped him up for a fifth-round pick.

He appeared in 11 games for the Patriots last year, catching 40 passes for 720 yards and and three touchdowns. Late in the year he suddenly revealed he was stepping away from the team, and not long after it was announced that he was being slapped with the indefinite ban.

Goodell and the league released an official announcement on the reinstatement, via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). “We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally,” Goodell said in a statement. “Everyone shares in that hope and will continue to support him to every extent possible. But as Josh acknowledged, ultimately his success is up to him.”

Gordon has always been supremely talented, but has been plagued by substance abuse issues since entering the league through the Supplemental Draft back in 2012. Assuming he can stay on the field, it’s a huge win for the Pats. There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about New England not having a great group of skill position players in the wake of Rob Gronkowski‘s retirement, and Gordon’s return will do a lot to assuage those concerns.

The Patriots receiving corp will now include Gordon, Julian Edelman, first-round pick N’Keal Harry, and Cameron Meredith and Demaryius Thomas if they can get healthy. Still only 28, Gordon should be only entering the prime of his career. Here’s to hoping he’s in a good place mentally and can make the most of this latest opportunity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh Gordon Applies For Reinstatement

Josh Gordon is looking to get back on the field. Sources tell veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer that the Patriots wideout has filed for reinstatement from suspension (Twitter link).

Back in December, Gordon was suspended indefinitely for violating terms of his reinstatement under the substance abuse policy. We learned at the time that Gordon’s drug use went beyond marijuana, an indication that the troubled receiver was dealing with issues that were much bigger than football. We know that the 28-year-old was at a rehabilitation clinic for at least part of the offseason, and if he’s looking to make an immediate return to the field, we can only assume that he’s clean.

The Patriots retained Gordon‘s rights on via RFA tender earlier this offseason, and the suspended wide receiver was recently spotted training with Tom Brady. While the defending Super Bowl champions would naturally welcome back the talented receiver, he’d have to prove to be a “better version of himself” off the field than what showed up in New England last year.

The Patriots knew the risk associated with the ultra-talented Gordon when they acquired him from the Browns in September. The rest of the league knew the risks involved as well, which is why the Pats were able to land the former All-Pro for a fifth-round pick, with a seventh-round choice coming back. Gordon’s ultimately compiled 40 catches, 720 yards, and three touchdowns across eleven games.

Even after adding Cameron Meredith yesterday, the Patriots could still use some reinforcement at wide receiver. Julian Edelman is dealing with a thumb injury while Demaryius Thomas is working his way back from the PUP list. This leaves the team with a healthy grouping that includes first-rounder N’Keal Harry, former first-rounder Phillip DorsettMaurice HarrisJakobi MeyersBraxton Berrios, and Dontrelle Inman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Gordon, Colts, Ravens

The Patriots retained Josh Gordon‘s rights on via RFA tender, and the suspended wide receiver was spotted training with Tom Brady fairly recently. This does not mean the Patriots expect to have Gordon back. One of modern NFL history’s most unavailable players, Gordon is not in the Pats’ plans at this point, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com noted during a WEEI radio interview (via NBC Sports Boston). While the defending Super Bowl champions would welcome the 28-year-old talent back if he proved to be a “better version of himself” off the field than what showed up in New England last year, Rapoport adds he isn’t certain Gordon will receive another chance or if the mercurial standout would capitalize on it at this point. The Patriots made several receiver moves this offseason, drafting N’Keal Harry in Round 1 and signing Demaryius Thomas, Dontrelle Inman and Maurice Harris.

As the final offseason weekend (for several teams) progresses, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Deviating from their long-held ways in free agency, the Packers splurged on a pair of pass rushers this offseason in bringing in Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. The latter Smith was on the Colts‘ radar. Despite holding the most cap space in the league entering free agency, the Colts let the market’s top pass rushers sign elsewhere before agreeing to terms with Chiefs cap casualty Justin Houston. But Chris Ballard targeted Preston Smith at free agency’s outset, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes. Green Bay landed the former Washington edge player for four years and $52MM (just $16MM guaranteed). Houston, 30, nearly matched the 26-year-old’s guarantee figure, with $15.5MM, on his two-year, $23MM accord.
  • Michael Pierce‘s offseason downtrend continued Saturday when the Ravens placed the nose tackle on their active/NFI list. In addition to the contract-year interior lineman starting camp with that designation, the Ravens placed offensive lineman Alex Lewis on their active/PUP list, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic tweets. Pierce, who skipped Ravens OTAs after not signing his RFA tender until June, was overweight to the point of needing to be yanked from practice at minicamp. Lewis underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Both starters can be removed from these lists and return to practice at any point during camp.
  • Broncos GM John Elway does not have near-future retirement plans, but the ninth-year executive is approaching his career year-by-year at this point.

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Berrios, Wynn

A WR depth chart topped by Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, and Josh Gordon could make Patriots quarterback Tom Brady quite happy, but Gordon’s status obviously remains uncertain. Jim McBride of the Boston Globe writes that it would make sense for Roger Goodell to lift Gordon’s indefinite suspension and reinstate the troubled wideout in time for training camp, especially in light of the commissioner’s statement that he wants to get Gordon back on the playing field. After all, the nurturing environment and structured routine of training camp would theoretically be good for Gordon and may allow him to continue to keep his personal demons at bay.

There have been no reports suggesting that Gordon has actually applied for reinstatement, but there were earlier indications that the NFLPA may begin to “lay groundwork” for his return in May, and that there was a chance he could return by training camp. As of right now, though, Gordon is still in a holding pattern.

Let’s round up several more items from the defending champs:

  • Speaking of wide receivers, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes 2018 sixth-rounder Braxton Berrios will crack the 53-man roster and could give the Patriots the type of Danny Amendola-like slot option that Brady loves. On the heels of a strong performance this spring, Berrios, who spent his entire rookie season on IR, has already arrived at the team’s facility well in advance of training camp. His chances of making the team are enhanced by his ability to return punts.
  • Both Reiss and McBride discuss the importance of Isaiah Wynn, who is expected to become the Patriots’ starting left tackle in 2019. Like Berrios, Wynn missed all of his rookie season due to injury, though all reports this year have suggested that he would be ready for training camp. Per McBride, the coaching staff has been pleased with Wynn’s progress in the mental aspect of the game, and Wynn says he physically feels ready to go. However, Reiss says the 2018 first-rounder could still open camp on the PUP list.
  • The Patriots stayed out of the supplemental draft for the 20th year in a row, though Reiss suggests the team could have been intrigued by safety Jalen Thompson (who was the only player to be selected this year). But surrendering a 2020 mid-round selection to add to a position group that already has quite a lot of depth just did not make sense for New England.
  • Gil Brandt of NFL.com examines the best fits for some of the top remaining free agents, and he believes the Patriots would make the perfect landing spot for DE Allen Bailey. New England did meet with Bailey back in March, and the 30-year-old fits the profile of the type of versatile D-lineman that the Pats have a history of signing on the cheap.

AFC Rumors: Gordon, Jets, Steelers, Colts

Tuesday marked a significant day for the Jets, with their new front office power players forming. A day later, more clarity has emerged on how Joe Douglas‘ first staff will look. While the respective roles for Rex Hogan (assistant GM) and Chad Alexander (director of player personnel) became known Tuesday, the Jets announced Phil Savage‘s a day later. The former Browns GM and Ravens player personnel director will serve as a senior football advisor. Savage has not worked on an NFL staff since the 2012 season.

Additionally, the Jets filled some front office positions by promoting holdovers brought in by previous regimes. Eleventh-year Jets staffer Greg Nemjeh will become the team’s new director of pro personnel, and 13th-year Jets staffer Dan Zbojovsky the team’s new director of personnel operations. Kevin Murphy, a Jets pro scout the past two years, will rise to the position of pro scouting director. The team also added Chris Nolan as a college scout. Nolan was an Eagles staffer during Douglas’ Philadelphia stay. Nolan will serve as an area scout, per veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter).

Here is what’s going on outside the Big Apple in the AFC Wednesday:

  • A video featuring Tom Brady throwing passes to suspended Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon surfaced Wednesday (Instagram link via Brady), but there is still no telling when or if this duo will be able to do this in a more organized setting again. An NFL spokesman informed The Athletic’s Jeff Howe there has been no movement on Gordon’s status, nor does a timeline exist for a final answer here (Twitter link). Multiple violations of the substance abuse policy have the long-embattled wideout suspended. Gordon, 28, signed his RFA tender — worth $2.025MM — so he would stand to be a Patriot if reinstated.
  • With Justin Houston joining the Colts, Tyquan Lewis looks like he will be changing positions. The Colts have used Lewis at defensive tackle this offseason, Tyler Kraft of the Indianapolis Star notes. The 2018 second-round pick played defensive end as a rookie and at Ohio State. Lewis, who spent much of his rookie season on IR, is at bit small for an inside defender. He’s listed at 6-foot-3, 269 pounds, a similar build to 2018 free agent addition Denico Autry (6-5, 270). The recently re-signed Margus Hunt, however, brings more size at nearly 300 pounds. Houston and Jabaal Sheard stand to reside as the team’s top defensive ends. The Colts also drafted defensive end Kemoko Turay in the 2018 second round.
  • Two years after Alejandro Villanueva‘s situation, the Steelers have another ERFA who has been a regular contributor. Slot cornerback Mike Hilton has been vocal about wanting a long-term deal. He does not have much leverage, but his situation is different from Villanueva’s. The left tackle was late entering the NFL and was 29 when he lobbied for a new contract — what turned out to be a three-year, $24MM deal. Hilton is 25 and could bet on himself by playing for $645K. While he is voicing displeasure now, it doesn’t sound like the former UDFA is too upset with the Steelers. “I want to show the team I want to be here and want to be a part of this organization,” Hilton said, via ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. “… As players, you feel like of course you want to earn more. Hopefully things work out in the long run, but if not, I’ll do my best to go out there and help this team win.”

Josh Gordon Signs RFA Tender

Patriots WR Josh Gordon has signed his original round RFA tender, as ESPN’s Field Yates tweets. Although Gordon is uncertain to play in 2019, if he does suit up, it will be for the Pats.

The last we heard from Gordon, he was considering applying for reinstatement by the league this spring. Gordon was traded from the Browns to the Patriots last season, and he had some initial success before suddenly stepping away from the team. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the league was suspending him indefinitely for violating the terms of his previous reinstatement.

Another report also said Gordon could be back by training camp, although that’s obviously far from a guarantee. Gordon has always been ultra-talented, but he hasn’t been able to stay on the field. In 11 games with the Patriots last year, he caught 40 passes fro 720 yards and three touchdowns.

The original round tender will pay Gordon $2.025MM in 2019, assuming he’s able to play.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Tender Josh Gordon, Jonathan Jones

The Patriots have tendered receiver Josh Gordon a contract at the original round level, a source told Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). In a separate tweet, Volin reports the team has placed a tender at the second round level on cornerback Jonathan Jones.

The last we heard from Gordon, he was considering applying for reinstatement by the league this spring. Gordon was traded from the Browns to the Patriots last season, and had some initial success before suddenly stepping away from the team. Shortly after, it was announced that the league was suspending him indefinitely for violating the terms of his previous reinstatement.

Another report also said Gordon could be back by training camp, although that’s obviously far from a guarantee. Gordon has always been ultra-talented, but hasn’t been able to stay on the field. In 11 games with the Patriots last year, he caught 40 passes fro 720 yards and three touchdowns. The original round tender will pay Gordon $2.025MM in 2019, assuming he’s able to pay. Since he’s a former second round pick, the Patriots will get a second round pick in return if some other team decided to sign Gordon, which is very unlikely given the price.

A team would also now have to give up a second round pick to sign Jones, which more or less ensures Jones will be back in New England next year. An undrafted free agent from Auburn back in 2016, Jones will make $3.095MM net year. Jones started five games last year and played around half of the team’s defensive snaps, while also contributing on special teams.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Gronk, Slater, Jones

The Patriots will end up getting a 2019 seventh-round pick out of the Josh Gordon trade, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. It was initially reported that New England sent a fifth-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Gordon, and that a seventh-rounder would be coming back to the Pats if Gordon was unable to play 10 games with the club in 2018. Although Gordon ended up playing 11 games for New England before being suspended again, Reiss says the 10-game condition was lifted and that the Patriots will get the 29th pick in the seventh round.

Now for more news and notes from the Super Bowl champs:

  • Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been at Gillette Stadium multiple times over the last couple of weeks, and while he may only be there to continue treatment on his thigh, Reiss believes Gronk’s presence is reflective of the good relationship between him and the team at the moment and of Gronkowski’s overall positive feelings towards the Patriots. Although he may still retire, his current state of mind is good news for Pats fans who would like to see him back in 2019.
  • Matthew Slater is due a $400K roster bonus on March 13, and assuming he is still on the roster at that point, the team’s 2019 option — which calls for a $1.6MM base salary — will be automatically exercised. Reiss believes that is a reasonable price for a special teams ace like Slater, and that the 33-year-old will be back in Foxborough next season.
  • Reiss also believes tight end Dwayne Allen could be back, as the team admires his professionalism and work ethic, but he will obviously need to accept a pay cut; he is due a $6.4MM base salary in 2019.
  • Cornerback Jonathan Jones proved his value to the Patriots in this year’s playoffs, and he is eligible for restricted free agency in March. As Reiss observes, the Patriots could tender him at the second-round level, which would entitle him to a salary of $3.1MM, or at the low level, which calls for a $2MM salary. But if they go with the latter option, they risk losing Jones without getting any draft compensation in return, so Reiss suggests that the two sides could explore a long-term deal before free agency opens.
  • Zack Cox of NESN.com believes LT Trent Brown will get a contract on the free agent market that the Patriots cannot compete with, and that the team will need to turn to 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn to replace him. Wynn, of course, missed his entire rookie campaign due to a torn Achilles he suffered last preseason.
  • Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels received only tepid interest on the head coaching market this year, but Ben Volin of the Boston Globe says McDaniels’ excellent work in engineering the Patriots’ Super Bowl run will put him firmly back on the HC radar in 2020.
  • The Patriots have once again surfaced as a potential home for Colin Kaepernick.

AFC Rumors: Brown, Crowell, Pats, Broncos

Although Joe Flacco interrupted Antonio Brown‘s run as the NFL news cycle’s offseason centerpiece, the Steelers‘ drama with their superstar wide receiver remains the league’s top storyline. After Brown’s trade request, NFL executives believe there may be a significant gap between what the Steelers want to part ways with Brown (and take on a sizable dead-money chunk) and what other teams will pay. One NFL GM believes Pittsburgh, regardless of Brown’s age (31 in July) and off-field trouble, will still want a first-rounder, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. Two other high-ranking execs said, via Fowler, Brown could fetch a Day 2 draft choice, while another predicted a fourth-round pick. Collecting a third- or fourth-round pick for a four-time All-Pro, while taking on more than $20MM in dead money, would be an incredible pill for the Steelers to swallow.

One team that may want Brown may not be able to acquire him, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeting the Steelers will not trade him to the Patriots in addition to having a predictable stance on an intra-AFC North trade.

Free agency is less than a month away, but teams are making moves in preparation. Here is the latest on this front, along with other AFC news:

  • Already pushing $100MM in cap space, the Jets may move closer to triple digits soon. They plan to release Isaiah Crowell once they agree to terms with a veteran running back, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. Such a release would clear $3MM off New York’s cap. The Jets have been the team most linked to preparing for a Le’Veon Bell run, and Mehta adds Tevin Coleman would be a nice consolation prize. While Crowell signed a three-year, $12MM deal, the Jets would only be on the hook for the remaining $2MM of his signing bonus.
  • With several free agents at wide receiver, the Patriots‘ pass-catching corps is likely to look considerably different next season. However, if Josh Gordon is somehow reinstated, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe expects the RFA to be back in New England (Twitter link). But the Patriots obviously cannot count on that happening. Additionally, the Patriots are not, in fact, paying for Gordon’s rehab. The NFLPA is doing so, Volin adds.
  • Under Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens have been known to prioritize compensatory picks. They may be ready to collect another prime end-of-round draft choice this year. Za’Darius Smith‘s free agency buzz reminds The Athletic’s Jeff Zreibec of what followed Pernell McPhee four years ago as he readied for the market. McPhee left for a big Bears offer. A contract-year wonder, Smith looks headed elsewhere, too, per Zreibec (subscription required), with the Ravens prioritizing four-time Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley and possible skill-position enhancements. Baltimore is about to lose $16MM via its Flacco trade, and it presently holds just $21MM in cap space. So adjustments will need to occur if these roster-bolstering hopes are to be realized.
  • Brandon Marshall is open to restructuring his contract to stay with the Broncos, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required), but Denver may be set to move on after a six-season partnership. The Broncos re-signed Todd Davis last year and like 2018 fourth-round pick Josey Jewell, who started several games for an injured Marshall last season and would be a cheaper alternative. Denver would save $5MM by releasing Marshall while also being tagged with $4MM in cap charges. A Super Bowl 50 starter, Marshall played all 16 games in 2017 but missed five in both 2016 and ’18.