Josh Gordon

AFC East Notes: Jets, Bowles, Patriots

Jets coach Todd Bowles was already on the hot seat entering today. Then the Jets were demolished at home by the Bills, and Bowles’ seat got even hotter. Seemingly everyone is assuming Bowles will get fired, and it appears to be just a matter of time before there’s an opening in New York. With that in mind, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY took a look at possible candidates to be his replacement.

The list includes some of the most frequently mentioned candidates like Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, but also includes some under-the-radar names. Washington University coach Chris Peterson is listed, as is Stanford coach David Shaw. One intriguing name he brings up is Michigan and ex-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, although Vacchiano notes “he’d only be a candidate in New York if GM Mike Maccagnan goes too”, due to Harbaugh’s desire for decision-making power.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of Bowles, the embattled coach will meet with Jets CEO Christopher Johnson Monday morning, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini noted that a “lack of energy on the Jets’ bench” was noted by the team’s higher-ups, which doesn’t “bode well” for Bowles. Nothing is certain, but it’s definitely possible Bowles is relieved of his duties this week as the team enters its bye.
  • Patriots receiver Josh Gordon is set to be a restricted free agent after the season, and New England will have several options about what to do. “Giving Gordon a first-round tender makes the most sense for the Patriots”, according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com. If the Patriots place a first round tender on him, any team that signed him to an offer sheet would have to give the Patriots their first round pick if New England let him walk. The Patriots could save some money by attaching a lower tender to him, but then they’d risk having him poached.
  • Speaking of the Patriots, they’ll have a different decision to make in the coming weeks. The team has until Wednesday to activate second round pick Duke Dawson from injured reserve, notes Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Reiss notes that Dawson, a rookie cornerback, has been practicing with the team for a couple of weeks but it’s unclear whether or not New England plans on activating him.

AFC Notes: Gordon, Melvin, Marshall, Bosa

Josh Gordon has run afoul with a new team. The Patriots plan to discipline the oft-embattled wide receiver during tonight’s Bills game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter), with tardiness at the root of the trade acquisition’s latest issue. New England will play without Gordon for a period of time tonight, around a quarter or “several series,” per Rapoport. Gordon showed up late to the Patriots’ facility on Sunday before the team left for Buffalo, Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets. After Gordon rides the bench to start the game, Rapoport adds he’ll return to his normal workload tonight. This benching is part of the team’s effort to manage and work with the 27-year-old wideout, one who had rampant trouble in Cleveland on this and other off-field fronts. If Gordon was on a low-tolerance policy with the Patriots, this doesn’t help his cause.

Here’s the latest from the AFC on trade deadline eve:

  • Bruce Irvin and Karl Joseph are believed to be on the trade block during the Raiders‘ rebuild, and, perhaps unsurprisingly based on the way his season’s gone, so is cornerback Rashaan Melvin. The recently signed corner was a healthy scratch against the Colts on Sunday, and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (video link) Melvin is available for a trade. Melvin signed a one-year, $5.5MM deal but drew Jon Gruden‘s public scrutiny after complaining about his role on the Raiders and the coaching staff’s style earlier this season. Melvin, 29, was a well-regarded Colts starter at this point last season and almost certainly will not be part of the 2019 Raiders.
  • Broncos plans to trade Brandon Marshall, if that was ever the case, look to have hit a snag. The longtime Denver starting linebacker now has a bone bruise in one of his knees and will likely miss time because of it, Denver7’s Troy Renck tweets. Marshall, whose contract makes him far from a lock he’ll be on next year’s Broncos, surfaced in trade rumors over the weekend. One of the handful of Denver starting defenders left over from Super Bowl 50, Marshall has been a full-time starter since 2014. He signed an extension in 2016, but that deal includes a $9MM cap number next year. Rookie Josey Jewell has played well in part-time duty as well, and the Broncos could get an early look at the fifth-round pick as a starter if Marshall is forced to miss time.
  • Joey Bosa could make his season debut on Sunday. At least, the Chargers haven’t ruled it out. Anthony Lynn said it was possible Bosa plays in Week 9, per Eric Williams of ESPN.com. Lynn said Bosa was getting closer. He’s missed seven Bolts games this season because of a bruised left foot, an injury he aggravated before Week 1. Lynn added he’s not ruling Melvin Gordon out, either.
  • The Texans followed through with their scheduled Brice Butler workout on Monday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. In addition, Houston auditioned quarterback Brogan Roback, cornerback Craig Mager and wide receivers Amba Etta-Tawo and Steven Mitchell.

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Cooks, Gronk

New Patriots wideout Josh Gordon will make his New England debut today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Gordon was inactive for last week’s loss against the Lions, but the Pats are sorely in need of some playmaking ability at the wide receiver position, and Gordon certainly has the potential to give them exactly that.

Let’s take a quick look at a few more notes out of Foxboro as the Patriots get set to take on the Dolphins in what could surprisingly be a pivotal divisional matchup:

  • Speaking of playmaking wideouts, given the disappointing performance of New England’s receiving corps thus far, plenty are wondering whether the Pats were right to trade Brandin Cooks to the Rams in the offseason. When factoring in what the team netted in its trade to acquire Cooks from the Saints in 2017 and the trade that sent him to LA, Doug Kyed of NESN.com believes the Patriots were right to make the move. The Pats ultimately received a year of Cooks, a 2017 third-round pick, the 2018 No. 23 overall pick, and a 2018 sixth-rounder in exchange for another year of Cooks, a 2017 fourth-round pick, the 2017 No. 32 overall pick, and a 2018 fourth-round pick. That represents good value, especially when considering the Pats would have had to pay Cooks $8.5MM this year and might have received a 2020 compensatory third-rounder if they let him walk in free agency (which they almost certainly would have). Plus, New England could not have predicted the Julian Edeleman suspension, so even though the results might indicate the Cooks trade was a bad one with the benefit of hindsight, Kyed believes the process was right.
  • The Patriots have already put nine players on IR since the start of training camp, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes. Reiss points out that the team put just 11 players on IR all of last season, and just four during the 2016 Super Bowl season. Reiss notes that only Rex Burkhead and Duke Dawson are the only two players who could realistically return from IR in 2018.
  • In light of last week’s Rob Gronkowski trade reports, Reiss points out that there had not been much communication between Gronk and the Pats before the star tight end was informed of the potential trade to Detroit. Reiss wonders whether New England really would have pulled the trigger on the deal, or if it simply used the trade as a way to reignite conversations with Gronkowski
  • Reiss also notes that last week’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week, the Bills’ Matt Milano, was drafted by Buffalo with the fifth-rounder it acquired from the Pats when New England signed then-RFA Mike Gillislee. Needless to say, that transaction looks like a big win for the Bills right now.
  • The Patriots cut Gordon’s former Browns teammate, Corey Coleman, from their practice squad yesterday.

East Notes: Flowers, Gordon, V. Davis

The Giants have made the decision to bench embattled right tackle Ereck Flowers, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Rapoport notes that New York has been preparing Chad Wheeler all week, and that Wheeler will start in Flowers’ place.

Of course, Big Blue’s offensive line was a major source of concern this offseason — even though the team handed a hefty free agent contract to former Patriots LT Nate Solder — and Flowers’ track record of underperformance was a big reason for that. But the Giants do not just give up on first-round picks, so they shifted Flowers from left tackle to right tackle and gave him the bulk of the first-team reps. The team, however, is 0-2, and Flowers has not fared any better on the right side of the line than he did on the left. Although Flowers is the only reserve tackle on the roster, which means he will still be active on game days, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes that this move almost guarantees that Flowers will not be back with the team in 2019 (which was largely a foregone conclusion anyway).

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Although the Browns were certainly upset about the hamstring injury that new Patriots receiver Josh Gordon suffered while filming a promotional video and the circumstances surrounding that video, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says the real reason for Cleveland’s decision to ship Gordon to New England is that the Browns felt Gordon was still struggling to stay sober and that they had done all they could for him. Plus, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report notes that Gordon missed and/or was late to several team meetings (Twitter link). However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sport tweets that Gordon has made a strong first impression with Patriots coaches and could make a real contribution for the team against the Lions tonight (although Gordon’s hamstring could prevent him from playing).
  • Former Patriot and current NBC analyst Rodney Harrison (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com) believes that Gordon will succeed with the Patriots because of the stability and climate that New England can offer. However, if Gordon cannot make it in New England, Harrison thinks that his NFL career is probably over. It is certainly difficult to argue with that assessment.
  • The Bills are expected to go after the majority of Vontae Davis‘ $1.5MM signing bonus, per Rapoport. Buffalo may argue that, since Davis retired mid-game last week, he is entitled to only 1/17, instead of 2/17, of the bonus, and if the team does go that route, Davis may walk away with less than $700K from a 2018 contract that could have paid him up to $5MM. After all, the remainder of his $2.25MM salary voided when he was placed on the reserve/left squad list, and he earned only a small portion of his per-game roster bonuses. Nonetheless, he did earn more than $35MM during his career, so he might not care too much.
  • Some members of the Cowboys‘ front office would like to resume Earl Thomas trade talks, but Dallas is currently seen as a longshot to land the Seahawks’ star safety.
  • We learned earlier today that the Patriots nearly traded Rob Gronkowski  to the Lions this offseason.

49ers Backed Out Of Josh Gordon Chase

Before the Patriots acquired Josh Gordon, the 49ers were among the clubs to contact the Browns about Josh Gordon. Apparently, their interest didn’t last long. Niners GM John Lynch admits that he kicked the tires on the talented wide receiver, but ultimately it wasn’t worth the risk. 

I think in that situation, like any situation, if there’s a chance to improve your team, you always look into it,” Lynch said on KNBR (transcription via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle). “But in certain situations, particularly when you have knowledge of a player, you sit back and you weigh it. Sometimes it’s intriguing. But then, particularly when you have knowledge of someone, the more you look into it: You know what — we’re going to stay away from that.”

Clearly, Gordon’s previous trouble hurt his trade value. The Patriots first agreed to send a fifth-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Gordon and a conditional seventh-round pick. Then, at the last minute, the Pats convinced the Browns to remove the conditions from the late selection, which essentially knocked the total price down to a sixth-rounder. Had there been comparable proposals elsewhere, one has to imagine the Browns would have pivoted to another team.

The 49ers may or may not regret the decision to pass on Gordon as they gear up for a Week 3 shootout against the Chiefs. Meanwhile, Gordon’s Patriots debut is expected to come on Sunday against the Lions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots, Browns Adjust Josh Gordon Trade

On Wednesday morning, Patriots coach Bill Belichick refused to acknowledge the completion of the Josh Gordon trade, even though it had already been announced by both teams and published on the NFL’s transactions wire. As it turns out, the two sides were still haggling over the exact terms of the trade. 

Initially, the Patriots agreed to send a fifth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for Gordon and a conditional seventh-round pick, with the condition being that the seventh-rounder would be conveyed only if Gordon was not active for ten games. Thanks to some last minute tinkering, the Patriots will receive the seventh-round pick regardless of how many games the wide receiver dresses for, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).

Reading between the lines, it sounds as though the Browns buckled under the threat that the Patriots would back out of the trade if the conditions of the seventh-round pick weren’t 86’d. That may be an indicator that no other club was willing to best New England’s revised offer.

Now that the trade is officially official, the Patriots will have Gordon available for Sunday’s game against the Lions. They’ll also have an extra seventh-round pick in their arsenal, one that either belongs to the Jaguars or Steelers. It won’t be the Browns’ original seventh-round choice, because that was shipped out to Miami in the Jarvis Landry trade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots, Browns Complete Josh Gordon Deal

On Wednesday morning, Bill Belichick told reporters that the Josh Gordon trade was not yet completed, despite the deal being announced by both the Patriots and Browns. Now, the deal is official.

Gordon suited up for Pats practice after the Browns agreed in writing to send a seventh-round pick to New England along with the talented wide receiver. In return, the Browns will receive a fifth-round pick, one that reportedly comes with no strings attached.

Given Gordon’s immense potential, the trade haul for the Browns is underwhelming, to say the least. However, the Patriots’ offer was said to be the best of the bunch after the club discussed Gordon with a number of other teams, including the Jets and 49ers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh Gordon Fallout: Browns, Pats, Cowboys

While Josh Gordon reportedly went through an MRI that didn’t reveal substantial hamstring trouble, he did suffer an injury while filming a promotional video Friday night, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports. The Browns lost patience with Gordon not because of an injury, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com but because of his off-field issues. The latest in that long line of incidents appears to have taken place in the Cleveland area Friday night. Gordon misled the Browns by saying he was participating in a photo shoot for his clothing line at the team’s facility, when in actuality he was doing drills for a hype video, Jackson reports.

Gordon participated in the filming of this video for up to 90 minutes, per Jackson, who adds a 40-yard dash was involved. But the final shoot was called off after he grabbed his hamstring while doing drills. This occurred just before midnight Friday. Gordon then missed a team meeting Saturday morning and after arriving 10 minutes late went into the training room, Jackson adds. He did participate in the portion of the Browns’ Saturday-morning workout open to the media, Cabot reports, running myriad routes, further complicating this saga. For what it’s worth, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson (via Elaine Benes GIF) expresses the prevailing league sentiment on Gordon’s recent injury (Twitter link).

Here’s the latest fallout from this major September trade:

  • The Patriots did this because they are “desperate” for another playmaker on offense, Robinson notes. Both Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels have become “acutely aware” the team lacks a viable deep threat, Robinson writes. New England has made 28 transactions at wide receiver since the start of this league year, the headliner being a trade of Brandin Cooks to the Rams for a first-round pick — which became a player (offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn) who can’t contribute until at least 2019. The Jaguars muzzled the Pats’ attack for much of the teams’ AFC championship game rematch Sunday.
  • Robinson also debunks the notion the Cowboys were pursuing Gordon. Both Robinson and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill (Twitter link) report the Cowboys had “no interest” in the 27-year-old receiver. Although Dallas is thinner at wide receiver (in terms of reliable producers) than just about any franchise, the team was not exploring a Gordon deal — contrary to a previous report that indicated it was. Perhaps brief conversations involved Gordon, per Clarence Hill of The Athletic (on Twitter), but the front office didn’t approach Jason Garrett about that prospect.
  • The 49ers did not bid what the Patriots did for Gordon, Kyle Shanahan said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (on Twitter). John Lynch confirmed the 49ers’ interest in Gordon, but the Browns — as they have with many trades in recent years — chose a Patriots offer instead.
  • Gordon is not believed to be doing especially well financially, per Cabot, who reports the wideout who is making $790K this season “owes people money.” Gordon’s involved in a child-support battle with the mother of his 3-year-old daughter and has not received much NFL money since the 2013 season. Cabot wondered if this turn of events was a way for Gordon to get to free agency early, but after the subsequent trade to the Patriots, he’s still attached to that 2012 rookie contract. She argued, prior to the trade, for the Browns to exercise more patience here unless a much better offer came along. But they cut the cord for a fifth-round pick.
  • Gordon’s contract being non-guaranteed breaks the Patriots’ payments down into $46K increments, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes. The Pats can cut Gordon free of any dead-money charges. A second-round RFA tender in 2019 would cost about $3MM, but Volin argues the team might be better served to give Gordon an original-round tender since the Patriots would still receive a second-round pick in return from a team that signs Gordon to an offer sheet (because he was a second-round pick). The low-end tender should be worth approximately $2MM in 2019.

Patriots To Acquire Josh Gordon

It’s a done deal. Josh Gordon is headed to the Patriots, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The Pats will send a fifth-round pick to the Browns for the former All-Pro.

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).

The Patriots will waive former Gordon Browns teammate Corey Coleman to make room, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (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.

Patriots Nearing Deal For Josh Gordon

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 SheltonJason 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.