Potential Free-Agent, All-Pro WR Linked to Patriots: Report

Getty Josh Gordon

Former Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, and Seattle Seahawks WR Josh Gordon is set to apply for reinstatement to the NFL, and the Pats are being mentioned as a potential landing spot.

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Josh Gordon Looking to Return to the NFL

Gordon, 29, has played parts of seven seasons in the NFL. He is currently suspended indefinitely by the NFL for repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy. However, Gordon reportedly applied for reinstatement on Thursday, per ESPN.

Gordon has battled substance-abuse issues for much of his career, and his most recent lapse is said to be connected to the death of his brother, which happened in November 2019. Gordon was suspended the following month.

Gordon’s attorney Adam Kenner issued the following statement on NFL Network:

“Josh had a lapse because of his brother’s death. That set him back. But since that time, he has realized how important it is for him to take the right steps, do what’s proper, and understand how to manage these issues. He’s installed the right team around him to make sure he’s on the right path. He understands he’s been given every chance. He looks forward to making the most of this.”

Patriots Potentially Interested in Josh Gordon

There are several teams in the NFL that could use help at WR. The Patriots are at or near the top of that list. That’s part of the reason Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports named the Patriots as a potential landing spot for Gordon if he is reinstated.

Benjamin said:

On one hand, the Patriots willfully parted ways with Gordon when they released him off injured reserve in 2019, less than a year after he faced another indefinite suspension. On the other hand, they still used a second-round tender to retain him after the suspension, and many notable names inside the organization expressed confidence and well wishes for the WR upon his departure. The Pats may be in quasi-rebuild mode with Brady gone and Jarrett Stidham set to take over at QB, but it seems hard to believe Belichick is just going to roll over in 2020. He’s never been afraid to stockpile veteran hopefuls, and Gordon has familiarity in the system. If you can add competition to a WR room currently banking on an aging Julian Edelman, a recovering N’Keal Harry and guys like Mohamed Sanu and Marqise Lee, you do it.

What Josh Gordon Could Add?

There are a couple of ways to look at what Gordon could bring, or even take away if he’s reinstated and the Patriots sign him. Shy of his 30th birthday, he should still theoretically have some gas left in his tank.

While there is telling if there has been a physical toll on his body from the demons he’s been wrestling with over the past decade, but otherwise, his body should be fresh considering he hasn’t been enduring the wear and tear from the gridiron.

At his best, which we saw in 2013 when he caught 87 passes for a league-leading 1,646 yards and 9 TDs for the Cleveland Browns. Does he still have that kind of ability? It’s hard to tell.

Since then, Gordon has never played in more than 12 games in a single season. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons serving a suspension. The 12-game season came with the Patriots in 2018 when he won a Super Bowl ring with the team. That season, Gordon had 40 catches for 720 yards and three TDs in 11 contests after appearing in one with the Browns early in the year. He caught Tom Brady’s 500th career TD pass.

Josh Gordon – Every touch as a New England Patriot – Thank you, Flash! Patriots NFLThank you, Josh Gordon!2019-11-01T02:15:57Z

That kind of production and presence on the field stretched out over 16 games with the Pats could be helpful. On the other hand, Gordon’s presence could also take time away from the development of Harry, and potentially take reps away from talented undrafted free agents Will Hastings, Isaiah Zuber, and Jeff Thomas. Is another Gordon experiment worth it? That’s a question the Patriots’ brass has to ask themselves.

Per Benjamin, the Seahawks, Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the other teams who could be a good fit for Gordon.

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