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Should the 49ers Pursue Josh Gordon?

Anwar Jamison
Feb 28, 2017 at 1:36 PM


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Josh Gordon is a name forgotten by most NFL fans, but one that has almost certainly come up in nearly every front office in the NFL at some point this offseason, even if only to dismiss the possibility of signing him. To dismiss him though, you must first acknowledge him. He is still under contract with the Cleveland Browns, but reports have indicated that they are done with him, and you would have to believe that he could be acquired for a relatively low draft pick, or that the Browns will cut him and he could be signed for a minimal salary.

There is a very small group of NFL receivers who are so dominant in all aspects of the game that they can almost single-handedly change the fortunes of a franchise. Attaining one of these receivers usually boils down to the good fortune of drafting him, because it is very rare that he will hit the open market as a free agent. The problem with that is a large percentage of college wide receivers who appear to have that potential do not pan out. Other times, a more lightly regarded draft pick will emerge to join that elite class. As with every other position, drafting an elite wide receiver is not an exact science.

Most fans can rattle off the names of the receivers in this group with relative ease: Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, and A.J. Green appear on everyone's list. DeAndre Hopkins and Dez Bryant appear on most lists. From there, others like Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas and a couple of others enter and exit that list depending on what type of season they had and who's doing the judging.

The bottom line is that there are not nearly enough receivers in this group to go around. Not team will have one, but every team wants one. It's easy to forget that when he's on the field, Josh Gordon is one of these receivers.

The last time Josh Gordon appeared on a football field for an extended amount of time was during the 2013-2014 season. Quite simply, he put together one of the most amazing seasons in NFL history. Appearing in only 14 games, he still managed to catch 87 passes for a staggering 1,646 yards, which is good for an 18.9 yards-per-reception average. During the course of that season, he set an NFL record for the most receiving yards over a four-game span: 774. That production over the course of a 16-game season would have given Gordon a total of 3,096 yards. Of course that will never happen over an entire season, but those numbers are cartoonish.

The bad news? Gordon has been unable to get out of his own way, which is why he hasn't consistently appeared on an NFL field for the past three seasons. In the summer following the 2013-14 season, he was arrested for driving while impaired. Since then, there has been a series of suspensions and setbacks that have prevented Gordon from returning to the field. In the latest twist, Gordon voluntarily left the Browns in September of 2016 to check into a rehabilitation facility when he was only a week away from completing his latest four game suspension and returning to the field.

The 49ers' front office has ushered in a new era and is currently riding a wave of positivity. If it were to consider a move such as adding Gordon to the fold, it would certainly be done after all due diligence has been completed. After all, Gordon has only been arrested once for the aforementioned DWI. In every other case, Gordon has been his own worst enemy. He's done more damage to himself than anyone else. He hurt his teammates by not being available, but he's never assaulted anyone, and no public reports have emerged to indicate that he was ever a disruptive force in the locker room, and oh yeah: he's only 25 years old.

While currently still on the commissioner's exempt list, he will certainly be cleared at some point and be in training camp with some team this season. For Lynch, Shanahan and the 49ers' current rebuilding project, is the risk of acquiring Josh Gordon worth the reward of possibly having a top-five caliber wide receiver on the 49ers roster in 2017?
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


13 Comments

  • Jarvis
    Yesssss! Go get him as soon as he's reinstated. low risk high reward. We have nothing to lose but if he's a better man he is still a top 5 receiver, top 3 once he's back in ???? shape. Shanny talk Lynch into it
    Mar 13, 2017 at 9:10 PM
    3
  • Jurgen
    Why the hell not!?!? SO MUCH to gain and so little to lose. Trade a 2nd round pick for him and then re structure his contract with major incentives for games played. He's a game changer. Yes please.
    Mar 10, 2017 at 4:55 AM
    6
  • Scott
    Hell no ! Why get rid of one distraction and replace it with another. That would be very stupid.
    Mar 9, 2017 at 12:08 PM
    3
  • Mike Cortese
    Why not get Gordon. We kept Ray McDonald, and Aldon Smith with criminal records. Heck, even Ahmed Brooks was involved with the aw twice. Give Josh a one year deal with incentives. If he does well, great he is still young and we can sign him. If not both walk away.
    Mar 6, 2017 at 10:20 AM
    7
  • Michael D
    Niners should shoot for Josh Gordon and A.J McCarron
    Mar 2, 2017 at 10:30 AM
    5
  • Robert St. Thomas
    I'm all for giving people chances to return back into society. If so were GM, I'd offer him a fair performance based contract either s condition that he be the poster child for the 49ers to speak against the real dangers of alcohol and " harmless" marijuana." Gordon finds himself in his present predicament because he believed the lie that marijuana was somehow less harmful to a person than alcohol. For a person to turn his back is on million$ of dollars just to "chill out" is is clearly violating the LAW of self preservation. Only drugs or deep depression causes person to reject the warnings found cognitive functions.
    Mar 1, 2017 at 10:20 AM
    5
  • Ladale
    I would pick him up in a heartbeat. I mean he has absolutely no leverage in a contract offer and it would be full of incentives & fail safe. But the truth of the matter as to why Aldon Smith, Gordon, and others will get a second chance is because nothing is guaranteed. When you make mistakes your literally renting your talents out on a day to day basis and probably at a minimum. If this was the NBA or MLB it would be different.
    Mar 1, 2017 at 9:30 AM
    5
  • Stephen Freese
    They will not touch him with a ten foot poll...Lynch wants character guys and the young kid has simply floundered in the area of character...We hope he gets his life straight, but not on our dime or our watch. Th same with the female jaw crashing running back. The organization I believe has learned from the past as winning isn't everything when you have thugs on the team. Belichick's reputation reveals he may be one who takes one of these kids as has demonstrated that he falls short of having any moral clarity with the actions he has taken over the years, all just to win...Any you the press praise NE, Brady and him constantly....
    Mar 1, 2017 at 5:46 AM
    0
  • 49er4Life
    Let me get this straight, he's living off his reputation from 3-4 years ago and you guys think he'd be a great addition? If he hasn't played in 3-4 years I don't think football is a big priority for him. I'd rather have someone smart enough to keep getting paid. Pryor is closer to Julio than he is and he is still learning the position. We need guys who want to stay on that field! Gordon is just another punk like Aldon or Lawrence Phillips. Guys with all the physical gifts in the world, but too dumb to keep their noses clean.
    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:43 PM
    8
  • Aubrey
    Fool me once...
    Feb 28, 2017 at 4:09 PM
    5
  • RishikeshA
    What the organization went through with Aldon Smith, RayMac and Miller won't be forgotten any time soon.
    Feb 28, 2017 at 4:04 PM
    9
  • Andrew Bowers
    What's the risk again?
    Feb 28, 2017 at 3:05 PM
    6
  • Frank M
    In a word, no. Shanahan & Lynch want high character guys & that's not Gordon. Terrelle Pryor & Pierre Garcon, those are the FA WR's they should pursue.
    Feb 28, 2017 at 2:20 PM
    3

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