There are reports that wide receiver Josh Gordon wants to follow Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith and apply for reinstatement. Smith is the only player so far that has been reinstated to rejoin the NFL this season. Gordon started last season with the New England Patriots, but was waived after the Patriots acquired Mohammed Sanu. A month before he was cut he was put on injured reserved by the team. He was then claimed by the Seattle Seahawks where he played five games before getting suspended for a fifth time for violating the NFL’s policy for performance-enhancing drugs and substance abuse.
Josh Gordon is looking to return to the NFL in 2020 after receiving an indefinite suspension in December 2019 https://t.co/yJ5EK2Nv5X
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 21, 2020
At one point, Gordon was considered one of the rising stars in the league. After getting selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 Supplemental Draft in the second round, he showed a lot of promise. In his second season in the league, Gordon led the league in receiving with 1,646 yards through only 14 games. He was voted to the Pro Bowl and listed as an All-Pro that year as well. Since then Gordon has still shown that he can be a starting receiver in the league during the limited action he has had. Here are some teams that Gordon can push these teams to the next level and who could afford the risk of signing a player like him if he is reinstated.
The Blatantly Obvious
Team: Green Bay Packers
Contract: 1 year $2 million
The Green Bay Packers shocked everybody when they left the NFL Draft without selecting a wide receiver. Since Matt LaFleur took over the Packers have become a run-first offense. But that doesn’t mean that they could or should abandon the passing game. Especially with Aaron Rodgers on the roster and first-round pick Jordan Love in the waiting. After Davante Adams got hurt last season their receivers’ flaws were more evident more than ever. It was a glaring need on their roster.
In free agency, the Packers signed Devin Funchess. He is basically a tight end that lines up at wide receiver. Funchess is a large receiver who is a good blocker and runs most of his routes in the middle of the field. Last season he signed a one year deal with the Indianapolis Colts and only played in one game because of a broken collarbone.
The receivers competing for the receiver role opposite Adams on the outside are Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, Jake Kumerow, and Allen Lazard. Gordon would be an immediate upgrade over all of them. He could be the big play number two receiver the Packers need. Adding Gordon to this offense should confirm Green Bays offense as one of the league’s top 10. If wide receiver isn’t addressed, the Packers could be eliminated from the group of contending teams in the league because of the lack of production from their offense. This Packers team has all the pieces on defense and need to add to offense in order to be Super Bowl contenders in 2020. Even though the Packers are not the type of organization to give risky players a second chance, this might be an opportunity they cannot refuse.
Return to Seattle
Team: Seattle Seahawks
Contract: 1 year $1.3 million
Seattle took a chance on Josh Gordon after he was released from the New England Patriots. He only had one start for the Seahawks, but in his time with them he had seven receptions for 139 yards. Gordon didn’t have a large part in the offense because of how suddenly he joined the team and the fact that they already had very good number one and two receivers in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. But if Gordon was to return to Seattle he could likely have a larger role in the offense. Russell Wilson and Gordon can continue to develop their chemistry if he was to come back.
There is a chance Seattle might consider letting Gordon sign elsewhere, because they signed former Patriots wide receiver Philip Dorsett to a one year deal. Dorsett was a solid complementary receiver for the Patriots and was signed to do the same for Seattle. Dorsett and Gordon would have to fight for reps and time on the field. The Seahawks also have David Moore who has been a touchdown threat in the past.
Gordon might be a luxury for Seattle at this point, but adding him back to this offense might give Seattle the boost they need. A receiving core like this in Seattle could boost Russell Wilson back into the MVP conversation and make the Seahawks a Super Bowl contender. There are also rumors about the team bringing in Antonio Brown, so the team could bring in a veteran wide receiver before the year starts. However, because at this point of their careers Brown is more of a risk and threat to the locker room than Gordon. It could be safer for both Gordon and the Seahawks to reunite this season.
Return to the AFC North
Team: Baltimore Ravens
Contract: 1 year $1.75 million
After the NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens reaffirmed their status as Super Bowl contenders. They addressed every major need on their roster. However if one was to nitpick, the Ravens are lacking a proven wide receiver on their roster. Last year’s first-round pick Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will return as the team’s number one receiver, but after Brown it gets a little murky. As it stands last year’s third-round pick Miles Boykin and this year’s third-round pick Devin Duvernay will battle for the number two receiver role. Though the Ravens are a run-first team, the Ravens should consider adding another weapon in the passing game to ensure their offense can still be effective if a team can keep their running game in check just like the Titans did last year.
Gordon won’t be expected to be the player he was early in his career if he signs with Baltimore. He would be the team’s fourth option after Mark Andrews, Hollywood Brown and their running backs. That isn’t even including the fact that Lamar Jackson will be running the ball himself a lot during games as well. Gordon is a more sure bet and reliable in the passing game than two younger players on a contending team. If Gordon were to play the full season he could have between 600-800 yards in this offense.
Like the Seahawks, Antonio Brown has been linked to the Ravens. Therefore come training camp or sooner the team could bring Josh Gordon in for a workout if they want to make sure they have a veteran starting receiver on this roster to make the passing offense almost as dangerous at the rushing attack.
Reuniting with an old friend
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Contract: 1 year $1 million
Considering the Buccaneers as a destination for Josh Gordon might seem crazy. They have arguably the best wide receiver duo in football and best group of tight ends in the league. Even though the Buccaneers might have the best collective group of weapons in the league Gordon could make some sense for Tampa Bay.
Last season the Buccaneers’ number three receiver was former first-round pick Breshad Perriman. Perriman was on his fourth team in three years and seemed to be out of the league come the offseason. But playing in Bruce Arians’ offense showed why the Ravens selected him in the first round in 2015. In the last five weeks of the year, Perriman had three 100 yard games, 506 total yards and four touchdowns during that span. Perriman has now signed with the New York Jets leaving Scotty Miller and fifth-round pick Tyler Johnson competing for the number three receiver job. It is possible that Gordon could have a Perriman type burst in the Buccaneers’ offense if he were to land here and was give the opportunity to have major reps.
Tampa Bay could be content with Miller and Johnson competing for the number three receiver job considering they might be playing in two tight end sets often because of the depth at the position. But what if something were to happen to Mike Evans or Chris Godwin? Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson are slot receivers. Godwin is even considered a slot receiver, even though he has evolved out of that role. Gordon would give the Buccaneers insurance if Evans or Godwin got hurt.
He also has chemistry already with their new starting quarterback Tom Brady. Brady and Gordon were more than teammates but friends Brady wanted to do whatever he can to help Gordon with his personal issues while they were teammates in New England. Adding Gordon would give the Buccaneers a true number three receiver and allow Godwin to get some snaps in the slot.
Going all in for one last shot
Team: New Orleans Saints
Contract: $1.5 million
Even though Drew Brees signed a two-year deal, many believe this will be his last year in the league. This means that this year could be the last chance for the New Orleans Saints to win a Super Bowl during this window that has been open for a few years. The Saints have done everything in their power to give Brees all the pieces he needs to get them there. Already this offseason, they have a true number two receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the best interior offensive lineman in the draft, Cesar Ruiz, a number two tight end with upside Adam Trautman, and another gadget player Ty Montgomery.
However as explosive as the Saints’ offense has been over the years, they haven’t had a lot of depth. This past year alone, the Saints lacked a true number two receiver and Latavius Murray did not fill the void left by Mark Ingram in the running game. Now that they have tried to tie up those loose ends they are still lacking depth at the wide receiver position. After Michael Thomas and Sanders is a question mark. Is their number three receiver Tre’Quan Smith, Lil’Jordan Humphrey or Tommylee Lewis? Even Taysom Hill’s name is going to be thrown into the mix to receive wide receiver reps. Gordon would fill that void immediately and put the Saints’ receiving core into the conversation as one of the best in the league.
Sean Payton is one of the more creative offensive coaches in the league. He could easily carve a role for Gordon in this offense and take full advantage of all of his talent. Gordon and the Saints could take advantage of each other. The Saints could get Gordon a second Super Bowl ring and Gordon can give the Saints another reliable weapon for what could be Brees’ last year.