In just his second year in the league, wide receiver Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns posted 87 catches for 1,646 yards and scored nine touchdowns, making him one of the most sought after dynasty assets of the past decade. What has transpired since has been a whirlwind of suspensions, substance abuse problems, drug counseling and very little production. In fact, since that amazing season in 2013, Gordon has a total of just 43 catches for 685 yards and two touchdowns. Still, hope springs eternal and after Gordon showed back up for the Browns this season un-suspended and apparently drug-free, many dynasty owners were salivating at the possibilities. After all, many dynasty enthusiasts have kept Gordon on their rosters for the better part of five years in hopes he could turn his life around and recapture the magic he once had.
In one of the strangest string of events we’ve seen in some time, Gordon returned to camp late for Cleveland after finishing rehabilitation, played in their opener and caught an important touchdown, then apparently hurt his hamstring at a media event, showed up late for practice and was acting erratically over the weekend. The Browns finally had enough and were ready to cut him until teams starting calling with trade interest. Instead of releasing Gordon, they decided today to send him to New England in exchange for a conditional fifth round draft pick instead. If Gordon is active for ten games in New England, the fifth-rounder will be the only pick traded. If Gordon is active for fewer than ten games, the Pats will get back a 2019 seventh round pick from the Browns. In short, they didn’t give up much.
Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at the dynasty ramifications for all players involved.
Josh Gordon, WR NE
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Many dynasty owners are going to be head over heels over this move, thinking Gordon and Tom Brady will create the same kind of magic we once saw with Randy Moss.
I won’t be one of them.
Gordon is supremely talented but I see this as the time to sell while you can. In fact, this could be the last time to sell. On Sunday, Gordon owners were just about ready to cut bait for nothing and now you’re going to have other dynasty owners knocking on your door in an effort to acquire him. Swings in value like this don’t happen often and I’d take advantage quickly.
Many will argue Gordon just needed a fresh start with a team willing to give him a chance. In my opinion, he needed a fresh start with a team willing to give him several chances. New England has a tendency to take gambles on aging or troubled players with talent and ship them right out of town just as quickly. The “Patriot Way” just doesn’t fit for some and I can’t imagine Gordon making this work. After all, the reports from Sunday were pretty troubling and I’d rather get out when I could. In fact, I just put a fancy “For Sale” sign in front of Gordon in every league where I own him. One could argue the best time to move him will be after he posts one or two games – you’d just have to believe those games are going to happen and I have my doubts. Many owners are going to be thrilled at the prospects and instead, I’m looking at the reality of the situation – Gordon didn’t fit the mold in Cleveland and now we’re expecting him to do that in New England?
It’s also my responsibility to share both sides of the coin.
If Gordon does indeed work out, he gives New England the most talented receiver they’ve had since, well, you know the drill. If he really can learn the offense quickly and acclimate to the environment, he can not only put up WR1 numbers, he could actually be the WR1 overall. If you believe in New England’s ability to mold players into what they want, you absolutely stand pat if you have him or attempt to acquire him. As I stated, I won’t be one of those people and would invite those owners to come my way. After five years, I think we have a pretty good idea of how this is going to end. Regardless, his ADP below is most likely going to rise after it looked like it was going to plummet just a couple of days ago.
Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett, WRs NE
In theory, the addition of Gordon doesn’t help the values of Hogan and Dorsett. However, it really depends on which side of the coin you’re on. If you believe Gordon is going to flame out, the time to acquire these players could be now. I’ve seen reports coming out quickly saying this kills the value of these two receivers. I clearly do not agree, especially in a dynasty league. It’s overreaction central out there.
Julian Edelman, WR NE
Regardless of just how much Gordon brings to the table, I believe the one constant is Edelman. There’s just too much trust between Edelman and Tom Brady to think Gordon could take much away from the slot machine. I believe Edelman is due for a big season when he comes back from suspension and this move really doesn’t change that in the least for me.
Tom Brady, QB NE
Again, this really depends on your own personal expectations from Gordon. If he can “get it,” we know what kind of numbers Brady is capable of. If he doesn’t, we’re still looking at a solid QB1 until he retires.
Jarvis Landry, WR CLE
If there was ever any doubt on who the WR1 was going to be in Cleveland this year, that’s been erased. Landry is in line for a great season and will be relied upon heavily.
Antonio Callaway, WR CLE
The Browns have traded their high-risk, highly troubled and player certainly deemed as “Most Likely to be Suspended” in their team yearbook for a player who has just about the same amount of baggage and will gladly take that spot in the yearbook now. Still, this is certainly big news for Callaway and he’ll continue to press for targets and should get all the playing time he can handle now. Callaway showed he is more than capable of being effective on Sunday after playing over 80% of the snaps and posting 81 yards and a touchdown. Still, he’s a massive risk for any dynasty owner and I’d be pretty hesitant on overpaying for his services.
Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, QBs CLE
It’s never good to see a target as good as Gordon leave your team but the distraction could be good for the Browns. Meanwhile, Taylor is having some trouble winning games (though it’s hard to blame him too much thus far) and Mayfield seems to be getting closer to starting by the week.
Corey Coleman, WR FA
If you ever wondered just how long the Patriots give wide receivers, take a look no further than Coleman. After being signed along with Bennie Fowler last week, neither are still with the team after the Pats cut Coleman to make room for Gordon. Coleman will again search for a roster spot on an NFL team and hope he can suit up for his fourth team in just a month. Needless to say, his dynasty value is hanging by a thread.
Dez Bryant, WR FA
Bryant worked out for the Browns and left without a contract not too long ago. He posted on social media this weekend that he’d love to play for New England. Reports are also surfacing that the Browns are not interested in his services any longer. Well, that worked out.