The New England Patriots took a small risk when trading a fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for wide receiver Josh Gordon. But even while making the deal, the team, of course, knew that there was the possibility of Gordon stepping away at any time. That proved to be true on Thursday, as the receiver revealed he has left the team in order to address his mental health.
But it seems this outcome may not be a surprise to the Patriots. Shortly after the decision came to light, there were rumbllings that New England actually knew this was coming, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Rapoport may have been citing the fact that Gordon is facing a potential suspension, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed (via Tom Pelissero and Dan Graziano). This stems from a violation of the receiver’s conditional reinstatement under the NFL drug policy.
Beyond that, it seems the Patriots even made decisions around the NFL trade deadline potentially focused on the idea that Gordon could wind up not playing the entire season.
Patriots’ Concern Over Josh Gordon for Full Season
The above report isn’t the only one citing that the Patriots were attempting to prepare for this situation. As The Athletic’s Jeff Howe detailed, they even attempted to acquire Demaryius Thomas via trade and turned away interest in wide receiver Phillip Dorsett at the deadline.
It’s certainly disappointing, but it’s interesting to see that the Patriots had this on their radar as a concern for some time now, at least to some extent. It obviously didn’t result in any big moves being made, but they now find themselves in a situation which they had attempted to prepare for but were ultimately unable to.
Josh Gordon’s Production With Patriots
The talented receiver has dealt with a number of off-field issues but was well on his way to finishing the season with the second-best numbers of his career. Although Gordon played just 11 games with the Patriots, he caught 40-of-68 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns over that span. This left him just 85 yards, 10 receptions and two touchdowns shy of the numbers he posted during his rookie season.
The best single season of Gordon’s career came in 2013 when he caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games. Following that impressive stretch, the former Baylor University wideout was named First-Team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl as well.
We’ll update as additional information is revealed on Gordon’s status, but for now, it’ll simply be a waiting game to see what the NFL’s decision will be for the 27-year-old.