Should the Cleveland Browns sign WR Josh Gordon to replace injured Jarvis Landry?
The Cleveland Browns lost WR Jarvis Landry for at least the next three games after going on injured reserve with an MCL sprain. Luckily, Odell Beckham Jr. was available for Week 3 after missing the first two games of the season as he recovered from a torn ACL from the 2020 season. Even with OBJ back on the field, the Cleveland Browns still need assistance at WR with Jarvis Landry sidelined and the rest of the depth chart needing more time to mature into a large role. A solution could be to bring back a second-round pick from 2012 in Josh Gordon, who will be reinstated to the NFL for Week 4.
Josh Gordon was selected in the 2012 Supplemental Draft by the Cleveland Browns and ended up being one of the best WRs from the 2012 class. Unfortunately, his recreational habits got him several suspensions over his career: two games in 2013, 10 games in 2014, the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons, wasn’t allowed to be reinstated until Week 13 of the 2017 season, and had his fifth suspension in 2019 where he wasn’t allowed to play in the 2020 season. There’s quite a lot of baggage with Josh Gordon, especially when he could get suspended again at any point. However, there are limited options for the Cleveland Browns and at least there’s a history between the two parties.
Josh Gordon is 30 and hasn’t caught a TD in the NFL since 2019. He did play in the Fan Controlled Football league with former teammate Johnny Manziel in 2021. The Cleveland Browns would certainly need to bring in Josh Gordon for a physical and tryout before signing him to ensure he’s in shape for the NFL. The coaches also need to evaluate his personality to see if he will be harmful to the locker room or not.
QB Baker Mayfield is having a great start to the 2021 season, but it could be better with improved targets to throw to. He has an 81.6% completion rate through two games but is averaging just 267 yards per game with just one TD and two INTs. The Cleveland Browns are in a prime spot this season in the AFC North: the Pittsburgh Steelers should technically be 0-3, the Baltimore Ravens are missing a majority of their offense and defense, and the Cincinnati Bengals are still the fourth-best team in the division. If Baker Mayfield can limit the turnovers, find some success in the endzone and rely on his run game, his team could win the division. Is Josh Gordon a missing puzzle piece?
Josh Gordon certainly has the talent entering the NFL. He’s the first and only player to record 200 receiving yards in two consecutive games in the regular season: 498 yards in that span. He also has the most receiving yards through a three-game span (649) and a four-game span (774). Josh Gordon also has five franchise records with Cleveland: most catches in a game (14), most yards in a game (261), most yards in a season (1,646), most yards per game in a season (117.6) and most 100+ yard games in a season (7). It makes you wonder where Josh Gordon would be in his career if he never got suspended.
Cleveland could snag Josh Gordon for a veteran minimum and see how he does in the 2021 season. The worst-case scenario is that he either gets suspended again and is forced to retire or is a former shell of himself and serves as a depth player until Jarvis Landry is healthy. His ceiling is likely ending up as a rotational starter who still has the speed. It’s at least worth a look for the Cleveland Browns to see if there’s any talent left in their former WR.