The road of Josh Gordon’s NFL career has always been paved with potholes, but the latest bump for him with the New England Patriots is expected to see the promising wide receiver searching for yet another place to call home.
The Patriots placed Gordon on the injured reserve list early Wednesday in a puzzling move that only became more intriguing when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported later in the day the team was planning to “moving on” from Gordon, adding his injury was not season-ending and that he would be waived once he was back to full health.
While the move helped make clearer the Patriots’ decision a day earlier to trade for Atlanta Falcons wideout Mohamed Sanu, it also quickly became clear what the Patriots stood to gain if he wasn’t cleared from the IR before the Oct. 29 NFL trade deadline.
Should Gordon come back after the deadline, he couldn’t become a free agent until after passing through the waiver wires, which allows the teams with the lowest records to get the first crack at signing a wideout who would instantly be among the hottest on the market.
What does this mean for the Green Bay Packers? Well, that Gordon is unlikely to be playing for any title contenders this season and will probably land in the clutches of a rebuilding team that can leverage its bad record. But for the sake of those eager to see the Packers add another weapon for Aaron Rodgers and build for a championship push, let’s look at the long odds and what it would take for Gordon to end up in Green Bay.
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Don’t Cross Your Fingers on Gordon
The Packers are tied for the third-best record in the league, sitting at 6-1 with the New Orleans Saints and behind the San Francisco 49ers (6-0) and New England Patriots (7-0). While that could change before Gordon hits the waivers, fans would certainly rather see their team continue winning than drop to a better waiver spot.
Plenty of teams with better priority, even higher-tier ones such as Dallas and Seattle, could use a wide receiver with the potential of Gordon. The New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills are also among fits who would likely pounce before he ever got around to the Packers.
In a worst-case scenario for the Packers, they lose two straight road games against the Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers and are down at 6-3 when Gordon is expected to be cast to the waivers, but their positioning would only slightly improve — not to mention it goes in the opposite direction of what fans are hoping to see entering the back half of the season.
How Badly Do Packers Need a Receiver?
The Packers are missing a genuine playmaker in the passing game with Davante Adams likely to miss his fourth straight game, but does that mean general manager Brian Gutekunst needs to go out and get one?
The Packers being active in the trade market would likely cost money and picks, as most of the hottest receiving options rumored to be on the block — A.J. Green, DeVante Parker, Robby Anderson — would be expensive. Gutekunst was a big spender in the offseason with big-time acquisitions for Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos, so it would be surprising to see him invest even more without a dire need.
Adams’ absence hurts, but it isn’t dire. Even if the Packers take another loss or two before he returns to action.