September 19th, 2022 at 5:55pm CST by Sam Robinson
Josh Gordon looks set to see action for a fifth NFL team. The Titans used one of their game-day elevations on the veteran wide receiver Monday, bumping him up to their 53-man roster ahead of their Week 2 Bills matchup.
The ex-Browns, Patriots, Seahawks and Chiefs pass catcher signed with the Titans’ practice squad shortly after his Chiefs release. Kansas City wanted to keep the former All-Pro target on its P-squad, but Gordon (via TitanInsider.com’s Terry McCormick) viewed Tennessee as a better opportunity.
The All-Pro version of Gordon is long gone. His run of suspensions saw to that. The 2013 first-team All-Pro is entering his age-31 season and is coming off a 2021 slate in which the Chiefs used him sparingly. But Gordon, who has seen substance-abuse suspensions define his career, made it through last season without incident. The talented pass catcher now looks to contribute with a Titans receiving corps still adjusting to post-A.J. Brown life.
Tennessee traded Brown after three seasons and used a first-round pick on Treylon Burks. The Arkansas product joins 2022 trade acquisition Robert Woods, fifth-round rookie Kyle Philips and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as the Titans’ top receivers. Although Burks submitted an uneven offseason and was set to be eased into rookie-year work, he played well as a part-timer in Week 1. Playing 37% of the Titans’ offensive snaps, Burks caught three passes for 55 yards. Philips moved into a more regular role and caught six passes for 66 yards in his debut.
Gordon played 12 Chiefs games last season, catching five passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. The mercurial weapon did not play in 2020, with off-field struggles again intervening, but did contribute during much of the 2018 Patriots’ Super Bowl-winning season (720 receiving yards, three TDs in 11 games) and totaled 426 yards in 11 2019 contests — with the Patriots and Seahawks.
On this date in 2018, the Josh Gordon saga ended in Cleveland. Following six-plus years of controversy, the Browns shipped the embattled wideout to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick.
A second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft, Gordon quickly made a name for himself in Cleveland. Following a productive rookie campaign, the receiver exploded in 2013. Despite missing the first two games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Gordon finished the year with 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns, earning him first-team All-Pro honors.
Gordon was slapped with another suspension prior to the 2014 campaign, but the ban was reduced to 10 games and the receiver proceeded to average about 61 yards per game in his five appearances. The NFL laid down the hammer the following offseason, suspending Gordon for the entire 2015 campaign. He was set to return after sitting out the first four games of the 2016 campaign, but he ended up stepping away from the NFL for the entire season.
He was finally reinstated late during the 2017 campaign, and after spending two years away from the game, Gordon finished with 335 receiving yards in five contests. There was hope that he’d emerge as a main piece in Cleveland’s offense for the 2018 campaign, but he quickly found himself in the dog house. While the organization publicly stated they were frustrated with Gordon’s hamstring injury, some in the Browns’ organization reportedly believed Gordon slipped in his recovery program, and it was his rampant off-field issues that finally prompted the Browns to cut the cord.
The Browns later indicated that they were prepared to cut the wideout, but a trade market naturally developed. Cleveland preferred to send Gordon to the NFC, with Dallas, Washington, and San Francisco emerging as potential suitors. While the Browns were seeking a sixth-round pick, New England ponied by a fifth rounder and acquired the receiver on September 17, 2018.
It was a low-risk move for a Patriots team that had previously gambled on reclamation projects, and it was assumed the wideout would have the shortest of leashes with BillBelichick in charge. From an on-field perspective, the Patriots were in desperate need of receivers. With Julian Edelman sitting out the first four games due to a suspension, Tom Brady was eyeing Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett as his top wideouts. Gordon immediately came in and produced, finishing with 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns.
Gordon once again stepped away from the NFL towards the end of that season, with the NFL later revealing that he was facing an indefinite ban for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement. The Patriots proceeded to move on and win the Super Bowl without Gordon’s services.
The wideout returned for the 2019 season, and he started each of the Patriots first six games, collecting 20 receptions for 287 yards and one touchdown. A knee injury landed him on IR, and the Patriots ended up cutting bait with him in October. He later caught on with the Seahawks, but he hauled in only seven receptions in five games before getting hit with his fifth career suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Gordon sat out the entire 2020 campaign before reemerging with the Chiefs last year, where he got into 12 games. He signed with the Titans practice squad earlier this month.
There was hope that Gordon may be able to revive his career in New England. While the receiver showed that he could still be productive when he was on the field, he also continued to prove that he couldn’t be counted on from an off-field perspective. Four years later, the 31-year-old is currently fighting to keep his career alive.
Josh Gordon‘s Titans visit will move him out of free agency. The veteran wide receiver will land on Tennessee’s practice squad, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
This will be Gordon’s fifth team. After being with the Chiefs last season and throughout this offseason, Gordon did not make Kansas City’s 53-man roster Tuesday. Despite being well off the pace he set early in his Browns days, the 31-year-old wideout did not fade from the NFL radar.
The Titans have more questions at wide receiver this year compared to during A.J. Brown‘s tenure, having made a post-ACL tear Robert Woods and raw first-rounder Treylon Burkstheir top pieces at the position this year. The team has a few lesser-known options ready to contribute, and Gordon will attempt to join that group at some point.
Tennessee will be Gordon’s fifth NFL employer. He has moved from the Browns to the Patriots to the Seahawks to his Chiefs deal over the past four years, with an early-season trade out of Cleveland beginning this journey.
Gordon’s historic stretch of suspensions sidetracked a promising career, with the Browns finally ending their lengthy partnership with the mercurial talent in September 2018. But Gordon could not finish seasons with the Patriots or Seahawks in 2018 or ’19, seeing off-field issues intervening. No such trouble followed him to Kansas City, but his production with the Chiefs left much to be desired. He caught five passes for the Chiefs in 2021 and did not suit up for any of K.C.’s playoff games.
Best known for the brigade of bans that came his way for substance-abuse issues, Gordon has shown elite talent at points during his career. The most notable instance came in 2013, when the supplemental draftee — despite a Cleveland QB situation that had Brandon Weeden starting many games that season — earned first-team All-Pro acclaim for a 1,646-yard performance. Gordon began that season on a two-game suspension, limiting him to 14 contests. His 117.6 receiving yards per game from that year remain the third-best mark in a season over the past 60 years — behind only Wes Chandler‘s 1982 strike-season mark (129.0, in nine games) and Calvin Johnson‘s record-setting 2012 slate (122.8).
Gordon, however, was suspended 10 games in 2014, effectively killing that momentum. By the time he resurfaced late in the 2017 season, that form was gone. Gordon did, however, contribute to the 2018 Patriots’ Super Bowl-winning team (40 catches, 720 yards, three TDs). Though, he was not with the Pats as they finished that season, with more off-field issues intervening. Gordon showed flashes as a Seahawk in 2019 but did not play in 2020, with yet another suspension keeping him away. The version the Chiefs received last year could not carve out a role. The veteran pass catcher will try and bounce back in Nashville.
Long removed from what turned out to be a short prime, Josh Gordon remains on the NFL radar. After the Chiefs released the former All-Pro wide receiver, the Titans will meet with him, NFL.com’s Taylor Bisciotti tweets.
The Titans’ receiving situation does not appear as deep as the Chiefs’, pointing to interest in the former Browns standout. Gordon spent the entire offseason with Kansas City and was with the Chiefs during the 2021 regular season. While substance-abuse issues have led to the would-be star never replicating his stratospheric 2013 season, Gordon may benefit a team as a supporting-cast target.
Kansas City did not use Gordon in the 2021 playoffs, but after countless instances of off-field setbacks, Gordon was with a team throughout a season last year. The former second-round supplemental draftee finished last season with five receptions for 32 yards. Gordon, 31, did not play in 2020.
He was more productive with the Patriots and Seahawks, though nothing he has submitted since compares to his historically dominant 2013 sample (87 catches, 1,646 yards, nine TDs in 14 games). Suspensions overshadowed Gordon’s career since, but he did help the Super Bowl-winning 2018 Patriots edition and made a few plays for the Seahawks the following year.
The Titans have Robert Woods positioned as their top wideout, acquiring him from the Rams via trade, and used a first-round pick on Treylon Burks. Despite Burks’ draft status, it does not look like he will be a full-time player to start the season. The team still rosters Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and saw fifth-round rookie Kyle Phillips flash in the preseason. Teams can roster up to six vested veterans on their 16-man practice squads, should the Titans go that route with Gordon. They would be the Utah and Baylor alum’s fifth NFL team.
Josh Gordon‘s time in Kansas City has, at least for the time being, come to an end. The veteran receiver is being released, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). In addition, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (on Twitter) that defensive lineman Danny Sheltonis among the team’s final roster cuts.
Gordon, 31, signed with the Chiefs last September as part of his latest return to the NFL. His time with the team marked his first game action since 2019, which he split between New England and Seattle. Overall, Gordon made 12 appearances in 2021, making five catches for 32 yards and one touchdown.
As Pelissero notes, Kansas City “is open to him returning,” but a reunion would now only be possible on the practice squad. Depending on the outside interest the six-foot-three, 225-pounder receives, the desire to go that route may be mutual.
Shelton, meanwhile, signed earlier this month. The move came one day after it appeared he was heading to the Raiders, but represented a notable addition in the middle of the team’s defensive line as a rotational option behind Chris Jonesand Derrick Nnadi.
The former first-rounder was a full-time starter with the Browns, but failed to live up to his draft stock during his three seasons there. He has since bounced around to the Patriots, Lions and Giants. With the latter last season, Shelton logged a career-low snap share of just 29%, limiting the value of his Chiefs deal to the veteran minimum. With the same being true for Gordon, Kansas City will not incur any dead cap charges from these moves, saving just under $2MM in the process.
While the Chiefs will obviously roster more than four receivers, Teicher opines that Gordon’s lack of special teams production makes him a long shot to make the squad. Instead, the Chiefs could pivot to a WR with more versatility. Teicher points to Daurice Fountain as a candidate for that fifth receiver spot, but the Chiefs are also rostering the likes of Corey Coleman, Justin Watson, and Gary Jennings (among others).
“They all bring something different to the table and that’s the unique part about it,” offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy told reporters (via Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star). “I think there’s going to be a lot of diversity because everybody presents something different, so it’s going to be new. It’s going to be exciting.”
Gordon restarted another NFL comeback when he joined the Chiefs last September. He eventually made his way on to the active roster and ended up starting seven of his 12 games with Kansas City, hauling in five receptions for 32 yards and one touchdown. Gordon hasn’t seen time in 16+ games since his rookie year in 2012, and considering his continued suspensions, Gordon seemed like he’d be hard pressed to make Kansas City’s roster in 2022. Of course, many of us thought the same in 2021, and he ended up getting into a dozen games for the Chiefs.