One day after the Patriots struggled to move the ball against a top tier Jacksonville Jaguars defense, they have gone out and traded a 5th round draft pick for troubled but talented Cleveland Browns wide-out Josh Gordon. This news comes as a shock to many as the Browns stated Sunday that they would make a trade for Gordon, but only to an NFC team to keep him out of their conference. Instead they have turned around and traded him to the Patriots, who were already viewed as a favorite to win the AFC and this move only improves their chances. Interesting change of heart for the Cleveland Browns, but we can never underestimate the incompetency of that organization. The same one that once had a trade voided because they failed to fax it in to the league offices.
Many Patriots fans across the country are rightfully excited at the thought of a much needed deep ball threat in Gordon being paired up with their GOAT QB Tom Brady. Many on Twitter have reminisced about the days of Randy Moss and the circumstances he came to New England under and the ultimate record breaking success him and Brady had. Unfortunately, while Gordon may be as talented as Randy Moss was, he is no where near as accomplished as Moss was at that point in his career and it is almost insulting to compare the two and think Gordon can just step in and have the same success. Before Moss got to the Patriots, he already had these career stats: 676 Catches, 10,700 Yds, and 95 TD. There’s a reason they called him “the freak” and why he was already considered a HOF player before him and Brady teamed up to tear apart the league.
Gordon, for all his talent, has done nothing to prove if he can stay on the field for more than a few games per season due to his off the field issues. And while he may be a “freak” physical specimen, he is also a long way from understanding the game like Moss did. The Patriots have a complicated offensive scheme and Gordon’s ability to pick that up may determine how successful he inevitably is in New England.
Another part of this deal is the fact that if Gordon fails to play in 10 of the remaining 14 games this year, then the Browns will also send a 7th round pick in return to the Patriots. In gambling, that’s called hedging your bet. And Bill Belichick knows there is maybe no bigger gamble you could take than Gordon. It also leads to speculation that another suspension or rehab stint from Gordon could already be in the works. It was reported that when he finally did show up late to the Browns facility Saturday, he did not seem himself and that drug use may be the cause. If that is the case and is handed down before this Sunday, we may see Gordon’s Patriot career end before it even starts.
If Gordon is going to turn his career around, there is no better place to do it than New England. If he commits to this team and performs on the field, there is no better community that will help him and support his off the field issues with addiction and depression. New England as a whole has been ravaged with a heroin epidemic for the past decade and it has left almost no one in the area that doesn’t at least know someone that has dealt with substance abuse issues. This community will rally around Gordon if he does the right things. He has a chance to completely rebuild his image if he can stay sober and use his experiences to help others dealing with mental health issues and drug abuse.
Belichick’s leash will be very short, even for his standards and even despite the fact that Brady was most likely very vocal in making it known that this depleted receiver corp needed help and a move like this was necessary. But you got to believe if Josh Gordon even has a dream that he was late for a Bill Belichick team meeting or there is any question of his sobriety, Bill will ship him out of town before he even has time to figure out marijuana is legal in Massachusetts.
Bill is rolling the dice big time with this move, and it will either be the capstone to a “genius” football coaching career, or just another case in point that his judgement may be slipping and he is not the same coach he once was. Either way, we will all be tuned in to watch these Patriots for the rest of the season. Pats fans will be hoping for the greatest QB – WR combo since those Moss days, and their haters will be waiting for the train wreck in motion. Place your bets on how it turns out. Bill certainly did.