The biggest talking point of the Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason might be which wide receiver steps up to lead a new-look crew of pass catchers.
Will it be a first-year player like Skyy Moore or Justyn Ross? How about a veteran addition like JuJu Smith-Schuster or Marquez Valdes-Scantling? Or even an under-the-radar playmaker like Justin Watson or a familiar face like Mecole Hardman?
For the first time in a long time, the answer is unclear at wide receiver after the 2022 overhaul — and it’s kind of exciting. There is one returning veteran who isn’t getting much attention, however, and he comes with an All-Pro resume.
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Stagner Crushes Josh Gordon Fantasy
When Josh Gordon joined Kansas City in 2021, many fans and analysts believed the former 1,600-yard receiver could have one more run of success alongside Patrick Mahomes. That dream never materialized.
Gordon finished the season with five receptions (at an atrocious catch rate of 35.7%) for 32 yards, three first downs and a touchdown.
Despite his lack of success, the Chiefs decided to give the reclamation project one more opportunity in 2022, offering him a reserve/future contract back in February — but they didn’t do him any favors. After a busy offseason, Gordon is now buried on the depth chart with the growing unlikelihood that he even makes the Week 1 roster.
That brings us to last weekend’s episode of the “AP Out of Structure” podcast, where Arrowhead Pride’s Matt Stagner and Ron Kopp Jr. answered an interesting mailbag question: “What if the answer in Kansas City is actually Josh Gordon?” Stagner gave a somewhat unexpected response.
With a slight smile, he began: “What if – in this upside-down world, this alternate reality scenario – what if Josh Gordon comes back at age 31 after not producing in this league since before Ron was out of high school? Josh Gordon somehow comes back this season – now he knows the offense, signs that futures deal after being inactive – and all of a sudden he is the go-to-guy in this receiver room. What if he’s the answer? What if he has a monster season? One thousand yards out of Josh Gordon this season: What would that mean for this team?”
Stagner’s sarcastic tone implied the scenario was nothing more than a fairy tale.
“This is one of those scenarios that would be poetic, that would be a great cheesy movie or kids story that you could tell people,” he said. “But to me, this would be a pretty terrible outcome for the Chiefs.”
He concluded: “If Josh Gordon is a 1,000-yard receiver this year – if he is the guy in this room – that means that the entire Chiefs offseason around rebuilding this wide receiver position and trading away Tyreek Hill, and going out and investing in several other receivers has been a complete and total failure if 31-year-old Josh Gordon is your guy — Skyy Moore failed, Mecole Hardman failed, JuJu Smith-Schuster failed, MVS failed.”
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Arrowhead Pride’s tweet added that it “could mean disastrous things” for the rest of the receivers if Gordon were a “big part” of the offense. Who would look at this receiver corps and say that Gordon can lead it by playing like he did in 2013, when he was 22?
This theory may not be totally implausible, but it’s pretty close.
It can be easy to root for the underdog, which Gordon has become. Chiefs fans would welcome a 1,000-yard campaign but know that unlocking decade-old All-Pro talent isn’t simple.
The NFL is nicknamed the “not for long” league for a reason: Times change and, sometimes, it all happens in a Flash.