The Cleveland Browns are parting ways with Josh Gordon, and these five teams could embrace the risk and bring him aboard.
Despite his being able to practice all week, on Saturday afternoon the Cleveland Browns declared Josh Gordon out for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints with a hamstring injury. The nature of the injury has since come into some question, and later Saturday the Browns announced they would release Gordon on Monday.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Gordon arrived late to the team facility Saturday morning as was “not himself.” That’s a clear reference to his past issues with sobriety, and concern over a potential relapse.
Gordon will not be subject to waivers if/when the Brown release him, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter eventually reported the team is “more likely” to trade him than release him and teams were already calling.
Even the faint prospect of a relapse, and another suspension from the NFL, adds further risk to bringing Gordon in. But nothing is clear on that front yet, and based he should have little trouble finding a new opportunity.
Making a trade could be the preferred option for other teams. Taking on the rest of his $790,000 salary for this year might be cheaper than competing for Gordon on the open market, and the Browns can also transfer all of that financial obligation to the acquiring team if that team winds up cutting him.
Some vetting of Gordon’s current situation has surely already happened, so these five teams could embrace the risk and bring him in.
5. Oakland Raiders
Jon Gruden has quickly built the oldest roster in the NFL, and Gordon last playing a full season in 2013 might fit that broader template. The team’s recent re-signing of Martavis Bryant, amid speculation he is facing another suspension himself, also shows the Raiders are not adverse to embracing a measure of risk.
The Raiders have depth at wide receiver, including Jordy Nelson, Brandon LaFell, Seth Roberts, Dwayne Harris and Bryant behind Amari Cooper. But Gordon would be a clear talent upgrade, if nothing else.