The story of Josh Gordon is a very sad one. A player who has the potential to be one of the great deep threats of this generation has been hampered by substance abuse problems and controversy that have forced him to miss two entire seasons and the majority of this offseason. Formerly a supplemental draft pick, Gordon has become one of the most dynamic, yet troubled players in the NFL. The Browns released a statement this weekend, essentially closing the doors on Gordon’s future in Cleveland. However, reports are beginning to surface that suggest the Browns will look to trade Gordon as opposed to release him. The question is; should the Eagles be interested?
Let’s get one thing straight. There are numerous red flags surrounding Josh Gordon. Whether it’s the multiple failed drug tests, his absence from the field, or the fact that Cleveland of all teams have decided to cut ties after six years trying to rebuild one of the most complex project in the league, there’s a lot to take on. The Eagles have established a reputation as one of the most ‘buttoned up’ teams in the NFL where culture is everything. With that in mind, there’s two ways to look at this.
Would Josh Gordon be an attraction or a distraction?
The Eagles certainly aren’t some kind of rehabilitation franchise, but players who have struggled massively with off-the-field issues, controversies or simple confidence setbacks have all found solace and rejuvenation in this new-look Championship winning team. In a locker room of close to 70 men, there are bound to be conflicting opinions on Gordon and whether or not he would be a fit for this team. But Pederson has done such a great job in rallying his troops to believe fully in every step the team takes, it’s difficult to imagine it being a distraction. If politics often associated with Michael Bennett and Malcolm Jenkins don’t cause problems, would a player trying to save his career?
The other aspect is what Gordon brings to the table as a player. There is no doubting his potential. After catching 87 passes for 1,646 yards in 2013, Gordon turned everyone’s head and fixated it on his 6’3, 225 lbs, frame that just looked to explosive to contain. In the five games he appeared in last year, he still averaged over 18 yards per reception. A dominant deep threat who has the physicality to battle corners and punish them with crisp route-running, Gordon hasn’t lost a step.
This directly correlates to a position the Eagles have been craving to fill since Pederson’s arrival. From Dorial Green-Beckham and Bryce Treggs, to Torrey Smith and Mike Wallace, the Birds have been itching to find a wideout who can take the top off a defense consistently, stretching the field and ensuring that defenses don’t know where to focus their attention.
Sure, it may be a little soon to judge Mike Wallace after going catchless in week one, but he’s only on a short-term deal. After that runs out, the Eagles will be hanging their hat on Shelton Gibson, who despite taking huge strides this offseason, may be far better suited to a rotational role to ensure he grows into this offense and by year 3, can take on a much more prominent offensive responsibility.
Again, this correlates perfectly to the Eagles financial situation. The team has around $5.46M in cap space and will be in cap casualty limbo at the end of the season due to the backloaded deals that Howie Roseman has structured. Prove-it deals and rookie contracts are key and the Eagles would only have to take on a contract of $790,000 for the rest of the season. Essentially, trading for Gordon would be a rental, just as they did with Jay Ajayi in the midst of last season.
It’s a little different trading for a running back during the season than it is for a receiver, but from a financial perspective, it’s a very cheap risk to take. If it doesn’t pay off, the Eagles can let Gordon walk. If it does and Gordon finds solace in a team that embraces his efforts to overcome his personal hurdles, why wouldn’t he take a shot on himself and sign a slightly lesser deal?
If the Eagles could have a starting trio of Jeffery, Agholor and Gordon, could anybody really work out a way of stopping them?
Even if it’s not a long-term commitment, the Eagles are without Alshon Jeffery and without Mack Hollins for the foreseeable future and a ‘short-term’ rental of one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league may be all that’s needed to tide the team through a wavy few weeks until the duo return. Alternatively, Gordon sits on the bench, learns from the Super Bowl champions and then decides if he wants to chance his future in Philadelphia.
This is a very low-risk, high-reward move…which is something Roseman’s dealings have become predicated on.
What are your opinions on trading for Josh Gordon? Let us know in the comments!
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