Josh Gordon

Extra Points: David Johnson, John Kuhn, Josh Gordon, Eagles

David Johnson has only played extensively in one of his first three seasons in the NFL. After backing up Chris Johnson as a rookie in 2015, Johnson had a record-setting sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,293 yards and racked up another 879 through the air with 20 total touchdowns. Last year, he was lost for the season after just one game. Despite the relatively small sample size, the Cardinals are committed to Johnson as the center of their offense, and appear ready to lock him up longterm.

Johnson and the Cardinals are likely to get an extension done before the season, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). While Garafolo cautioned there’s “work to be done to get there”, he does believe it’ll get done before the season. The Cardinals clearly saw during his one season as their starter just how special of a player he can be, and want to extend him before he hits the open market at the end of this season.

Johnson reportedly has been sitting out some of the Cardinals’ OTAs with an injury, but a source told Kent Somers of the AZcentral.com that the injury is not serious. Somers added that Johnson is expected to participate in the three-day minicamp the Cardinals will hold next week.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Former Packers and Saints fullback John Kuhn wants to play in 2018 and has received interest from several teams, Kuhn told Sirius XM NFL Radio (Twitter link). The longtime Packer fan-favorite said “I’m ready to give it another run, and I’ve been fielding some calls, so I’m just waiting for the right one to give this one more go.”
  • After Duke Johnson signed his new contract yesterday, Josh Gordon is the next Browns player likely to be extended, opines Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. While Grossi says he’ll have to first prove to GM John Dorsey that he can stay on the field, he “can see the Browns rewarding him with a multi-year deal to head off a possible huge payday in unrestricted free agency in 2020.”
  • There’s a four-way battle for two spots among Eagles wide receivers, but Markus Wheaton and Shelton Gibson are the favorites to emerge, thinks Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Gibson writes that Bryce Treggs and Greg Ward Jr. have impressed at OTAs, but that “it is tough to see Treggs or Ward Jr. passing either Wheaton or Gibson for a roster spot.”

Browns Re-Sign WR Josh Gordon

The Browns announced that they have officially re-signed exclusive rights free agent Josh Gordon. In addition to the star wide receiver, the Browns have also formally re-upped wide receiver Matt Hazel, offensive lineman Austin Reiter, and fullback Danny Vitale. All four players are set to take part in the team’s offseason program, which started on Monday morning. 

Gordon should have been an unrestricted free agent by now, but multiple suspensions caused his contract to toll. As a result, Gordon did not have any options this offseason and the Browns had full control over his rights.

Gordon, 26, appeared in five games for Cleveland in 2017. In that time, he posted 18 receptions for 335 yards and one touchdown. This year, he’ll play alongside Corey Coleman and the newly-acquired Jarvis Landry. If Gordon is able to stay on track, he could thrive as a deep threat in the Browns’ revamped offense.

Gordon first joined the Browns as a second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft. All in all, he has appeared in 40 games and recorded 179 receptions for 3,089 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2013, he led the league with 1,646 receiving yards.

Browns Tender Contract To WR Josh Gordon

The Browns have tendered wide receiver Josh Gordon as an exclusive rights free agent, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). He’ll earn $790K for the upcoming season.

Gordon should have been an unrestricted free agent by now, but multiple suspensions have caused his contract to toll. As such, he didn’t have any options this offseason, as the Browns control his rights and he’s not allowed to speak to other clubs.

Gordon, 26, appeared in five games for Cleveland a season ago. In that time, he posted 18 receptions for 335 yards and one touchdown. He’ll play alongside Corey Coleman and the newly-acquired Jarvis Landry in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Gordon, Steelers

In a departure from comments made last offseason, Browns coach Hue Jackson says that he wants wide receiver Josh Gordon to be in Cleveland for a “long time.”

Well, I think the first thing, if we tender him, which we will, that’s where he’ll be,” Jackson said (via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal). “But we want Josh Gordon to be a Cleveland Brown for a long time. We’ll see where that all goes, but he has to do his part in that. And we hope he will, and I’m sure he will.”

Gordon is an exclusive rights free agent, meaning that he’ll be back with the Browns on an inexpensive one-year deal. It’s not clear whether the Browns have discussed a multi-year extension with Gordon, but Jackson would be a proponent of a new contract.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • The Steelers recently reached out to safety J.J. Wilcox to express interest in a return for 2018, a source tells Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Steelers can save $3.125MM by cutting Wilcox with just $675K in dead money, but the Steelers have some interest in retaining him, perhaps under a reduced figure. The Steelers will also have to make a decision regarding fellow safety Mike Mitchell, who is slated to carry a $5MM cap hit.
  • With the Rams reportedly set to move on from wide receiver Tavon AustinJeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun wonders aloud if the Ravens could bring the former Dunbar star home. The Ravens need to overhaul their receiver corps this season with a particular emphasis on speed. The team has been widely connected to Jarvis Landry, but Austin would represent a much cheaper option in every sense of the word. The Dolphins hit Landry with the $16MM+ franchise tag in February with the hope of trading him, likely for draft compensation. Austin, meanwhile, seems likely to get released outright, even though the Rams would ideally like to recoup something for him. Because of the offset language in Austin’s contract, that means he could probably be had for the league minimum or close to it.
  • A deeper look at the contract of Bengals tackle Bobby Hart reveals that he is not a lock to make the team’s final roster.

Browns’ Josh Gordon Won’t Request Trade

Josh Gordon is back with the Browns, but some have wondered if he’s there to stay. On Thursday, Gordon said that he does not plan to ask for a trade this offseason, an indicator that he may remain in Cleveland if new GM John Dorsey wants to keep him. Josh Gordon (vertical)

You can ask for a trade whenever you want to really, but that’s not really on my mind, man,” he said (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “I’m just glad to be back.”

Gordon has spent much of his Browns tenure off of the field. When on the field, he hasn’t been on the winning side of too many games. He’s watched former teammates Joe Haden and Kenny Britt wind up with Super Bowl contenders, but he says he wants to help Cleveland turn things around.

Dorsey, for his part, has indicated that he sees Gordon as a part of the team’s future.

Josh is a very, very, very talented football player,” Dorsey said in a recent radio interview. “And it always helps to have talented guys on there. The one thing about Josh, what I’ve seen is and I’ve heard, he’s worked very hard to turn his personal life around. My Catholicism has taught me that, you know what, give every man a second chance in life. And as long as he’s committed to the Cleveland Browns, I’ll tell you that the Cleveland Browns are committed to him, to help him not only be a good football player but a good man off the field.”

Gordon, 27 in April, has 12 catches for 201 yards and one score in three games this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Activate Josh Gordon

The Browns have officially moved Josh Gordon from the commissioner’s exempt list to their 53-man roster, putting him in position to play in a regular-season game for the first time since December 2014.

Gordon will also be a starter against the Chargers on Sunday despite the three-year absence, with Hue Jackson emphatically confirming as such on Thursday.

Yeah, he’s going to start,” Jackson told media, including Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “Are you kidding me? I’m surprised you would ask.”

Cleveland cut safety Justin Currie to make room for Gordon on the roster, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports (on Twitter).

There haven’t been any setbacks in Gordon’s return this time, and the 26-year-old former All-Pro will join Corey Coleman in the Browns’ lineup in Los Angeles. Gordon did not look like his dominant 2013 version upon returning from a suspension in November 2014, but he shined during the 2016 preseason before another substance-abuse ban put his NFL career on the ropes. Jackson, who was ready to move on from Gordon last season, has raved about the talented pass-catcher throughout his time practicing with the team this month.

The Browns have struggled throughout the season in assembling a wide receiver crew. This marks the most depth they’ve had at that spot in a long time. Gordon returning for just five games in 2017 will keep him under contract for two more seasons in Cleveland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Haden, Suggs

Josh Gordon‘s long road back the NFL is almost complete as the team is likely to reactivate him later in the week, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Cabot reports that the team has the ability to activate him to the roster today, but it unlikely to do so in order to hold onto a roster spot.

The talented wide receiver is expected to see his first regular season action in two years when the Browns take on the Chargers on Sunday. Gordon has made his mistakes in the past, but has caused no such problem since he returned to practice last week.

With the Browns potentially finishing the year as one of the league’s worst teams ever, being able to see an impact player return is certainly some much needed good news. He’ll likely start alongside fellow wideout Corey Coleman should everything go according to plan throughout the practice week.

  • In other Browns news, head coach Hue Jackson said after practice today that the coaching staff will dicuss whether to replace rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez after his struggles continued in Week 12, reports Cabot in a separate tweet. However, Jackson did note that Gonzalez did well to bounce back and convert two field goals after he missed an attempt from 43 yards earlier in the game. Parting ways with the rookie kicker would represent another draft blunder as Cleveland used a seventh round pick in order to bring in the 22-year-old from Arizona State.
  • The Steelers managed to hold off the scuffling Packers on Sunday night football yesterday, but were still clearly exposed in the secondary by some talented playmakers and a backup quarterback. Part of the reason for the offensive display could be due to the absence of veteran cornerback Joe Haden. While the team does expect the former Brown to return, it’s unlikely that the defensive back will see the field for a few more weeks, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). La Canfora did add that the Week 13 status for rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster remains a little more up in the air at this point.
  • Terrell Suggs is currently playing in his 14th year in the league, though the 35-year-old is still a more than a capable puss rusher coming off the edge. However, while Suggs’ play has kept him as a valuable member of the defense, the veteran knows that his career could be winding down this season, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Hensley notes that cutting Suggs this summer could give the Ravens an extra $4MM in cap space, but despite the harsh realities of the league Suggs knows that ultimately the NFL is a business. “I would really love to be in one place my whole career. Not many players can say they did that,” Suggs told ESPN before his 207th game for the Ravens. “But I also understand this is a business and that might not happen. I’m pretty much making my peace with it now. I’m preparing myself for it just in case. What will be, will be.” Suggs does still lead the team with 7.5 sacks and has forced three fumbles, so it should be noted that actually getting rid of the veteran edge defender could make the Baltimore defense worse. The team has made a point in drafting three young pass rushers in the last two seasons, including Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams. Nevertheless, Suggs can only play well on the field and let the chips fall where they may at this point.
  • The Bengals have avoided a suspension to one of their key defenders in linebacker Vontaze Burfict, according to Jim Owczarski of Cincinnati.com. The energetic defender was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting a defenseless receiver in yesterday’s win over the Browns. Burfict has made a number of boneheaded plays throughout his career, which include him getting ejected for making contact with an official and for his unsportsmanlike penalty against the Steelers earlier in the season. He’ll avoid game punishment here, but a fine is certainly possible.

Browns To Activate Josh Gordon

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is eligible to return to live action next week against the Chargers, and according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link), the team does plan to activate him and he will play next Sunday.

Josh Gordon

Gordon, who has been plagued by suspensions throughout his career, was conditionally reinstated on November 1, and he has reportedly looked like his old self in his subsequent workouts at the team facility. He apparently kept himself in good shape during his recovery from drug and alcohol problems, and all reports concerning Gordon since his reinstatement have been glowing.

Gordon, of course, produced one of the best seasons by a receiver in NFL history in 2013 when he led the league with 1,646 yards in just 14 games, but he has played just five games since that breakout campaign. His next game will be his first since 2014.

Gordon’s business manager, Michael Johnson, said Gordon is in the best mental state of his life and the Browns have “bought in.” For his part, Gordon is curious to see how effective he can be sober, as he says he has never been sober in his professional career.

If Gordon — who is still just 26 — can stay on the field even as an average player, it would represent one of the more incredible comeback stories in recent memory. Suddenly, there may be a reason to watch the Browns in the final few weeks of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

WR Notes: Bills, Titans, Gordon, Jeffery

Residing atop the “In the Hunt” section of AFC playoff picture graphics, the Bills will have a tougher time rebounding from their rough road trip to Los Angeles. Kelvin Benjamin isn’t traveling to Kansas City with the team, per the Bills, due to a knee injury. This could be the start of a multi-game absence for the former Panthers wideout, who avoided an ACL tear but did not get off free of lingering knee pain when injured against the Chargers. Benjamin has only played in two of the four Buffalo games since the Bills acquired him at the trade deadline. He has four receptions for 62 yards as a Bill.

Here’s the latest on some wide receiver situations around the league.

  • Speaking of playoff-contending teams, the Titans may be without Rishard Matthews because of a hamstring injury. Matthews did not practice on Friday. Categorizing Matthews as a game-time decision for Sunday’s Colts tilt, Mike Mularkey said the team’s top wide receiver was given a day off for rest. Players who miss Friday workouts generally do not play on Sundays. Tennessee’s leading receiver at 626 yards, Matthews has not missed a game since joining the Titans last year. The Titans activated Harry Douglas from their PUP list on Saturday, adding an additional veteran to the mix.
  • Josh Gordon is at his playing weight of 225 and recently blazed to a 4.35-second 40-yard dash while training at N.U.M.A. Speed this offseason, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Given his condition and Hue Jackson‘s glowing praise, it should be assumed he’s going to play in the Browns‘ Week 13 game against the Chargers. The 26-year-old pass-catcher said learning Jackson’s offense last year helped considerably in this readjustment period. Gordon can still be drug-tested up to 10 times per month.
  • Doug Pederson was quoted as saying the Eagles would love to retain Alshon Jeffery. But the second-year Philadelphia HC stopped short of saying Jeffery was certain to return. “Alshon’s a guy that you’d love to have continue to work with Carson (Wentz) and have around, and I think it’s a good dynamic to have, and have that stability,” Pederson said, via the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley. “If things work out and we can retain him, it would be great for the chemistry of the offense, and, obviously, those two guys working together in the future.” As of now, Jeffery and Jarvis Landry look to be the top receivers on the 2018 market.

AFC Notes: Gordon, Bolts, Cutler, Steelers

Browns receiver Josh Gordon declared himself ready to go despite having another week before he is ready to be activated, according to ESPN’s Tony Grossi.

It’s been awesome. It’s been a joy. It’s been fun. It’s been exciting,” Gordon said Friday. “I think I knocked that rust off prior to getting back to the building. I think I accomplished that. First day of practice, [I was] able to adjust pretty quickly.

Anyone worried about Gordon needing time to round into shape hasn’t kept up with his comeback. The former All-Pro receiver has been working out constantly and looks ready to go when the team can activate him in Week 13.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Chargers did not escape their Thanksgiving Day bout with the Cowboys unscathed. Kicker Nick Novak sustained a back injury and his status has led the team to possibly tryout kickers next week, Eric Williams of ESPN reports (Twitter link).
  • Staying in Los Angeles, the Chargers also expect rookie wideout Mike Williams to miss time, though it has ruled out an ACL injury, Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. Williams was carted off the field with an injury during the game.
  • The Dolphins have ruled out Jay Cutler (concussion) for Week 12 vs. New England, ESPN’s James Walker reports (Twitter link). The team will turn to Matt Moore for the divisional bout.
  • Steelers rookie wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled out of the team’s Sunday night matchup with Green Bay, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. (Twitter link). The first-year receiver from USC has been impressive in recent weeks, averaging 17.2 yards per reception and logging five touchdowns on the season. He will miss the game due to a hamstring injury.