WR Josh Gordon has applied for reinstatement to the NFL (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
When it comes to the Patriots and some of their potential needs this offseason, a wide receiver, particularly a deep threat is on that list.
These are hard to find in the NFL, but one might soon be available, but he comes with a lot of baggage — Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon.
Gordon was suspended for the 2015 season after he repeatedly violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He did apply for reinstatement late last month and commissioner Roger Goodell addressed his status at his state of the league address last Friday in San Francisco.
“We did get the letter from Josh,” Goodell said. “The process is that we’ll go back and we’ll look at how he’s conducted himself over the last several months, what he’s done to make sure it’s consistent with the terms of a suspension and at some stage, we’ll have a report on that and I will engage with our people to understand where he is, where he’s been but most importantly where he’s going. When these things happen, it’s about trying to avoid them in the future. Our number one issue here is to prevent these things from happening.
“I’m hopeful that Josh understands that he’s going to have to conduct himself differently going forward to be a member of the NFL and to be representing the Cleveland Browns, or any team in the NFL. So, our job is to try to get people to understand that, try to make sure they live by the policies we have and ensure that this is what all of us in the league want, but also I think what the fans want. Our fans want our players playing by the same rules.”
When he has been on the field, Gordon has put up ridiculous numbers.
In 2012, his rookie year and only full season in the league, Gordon caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns. In 2013, he had 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games — an insanely good season, especially considering it was with the Browns, one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
Sadly for Gordon, he’s most known for his actions off the field, rather than on the field. His issues started in college when he was dismissed from the team at Baylor and entered the 2012 supplemental draft after testing positive for marijuana. Last year was the third straight season he has served time for violating the substance abuse program. It’s clear he has issues, but at just 24 years old, it does appear he’s at least trying to get back on the right track.
Would the Patriots, or any team for that matter, take a chance on Gordon? It would be tough to do, even at what would likely be a league-minimum, one-year deal as Gordon needs to prove he’s changed. New England is no stranger to taking chances with “bad character” players — Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, Aqib Talib and Albert Haynesworth just to name a few.
The Patriots also aren’t afraid of any of the media attention that may come with signing a player like him, as they have dealt with the media circus that came with signing Tim Tebow and most recently Deflatagate.
But, Gordon is different because his issues are legal issues. Would the Patriots want to get involved with that?
There is no question Gordon would be a huge help to the Patriots’ passing game and 39-year-old Tom Brady, but the biggest question is whether or not the Patriots would want to be associated with a player like Gordon who so far in his football career is most known for his actions off the field, rather than on the field.