The Cleveland Browns had big plans for their receiving corps this year. The wide receivers even bragged about them being on the verge of being recognized as the best group in the league, helmed by Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, and Corey Coleman.
Well, a week into the 2018 regular season, you can already scratch off the second and third names on the list. Coleman was traded during the preseason after requesting it, unsatisfied with his role on the team. The Browns have elected to release or trade Gordon after about the 18th last straw finally broke the camel’s back and killing it.
Trade or release is important here. The team announced that their intention is to release him on Monday, but before then, they will attempt to work out a deal with another team to move him, probably for whatever they can possibly get for him.
It will be at this time that somebody says “why would anybody trade for a player who’s about to become a free agent”, even though it’s something that happens every single year. Trading for a player ensures that you actually get that player rather than competing with 30 other teams for his services. Which is why teams do it. Every year.
So with that out of the way, the reports last night claim that Gordon is more likely to be traded than released, and that there are at least five teams that have already contacted the Browns expressing interest in the 2013 first-team All-Pro.
As has already been pointed out, Gordon is a vested veteran despite having less than four accrued seasons of experienced. He has four credited seasons, however, which goes by a separate metric, and determines who is subject to waivers. Thus as a vested veteran, his release would mean that he is an unrestricted free agent free to sign with any team.
Were he to remain with the Browns or be traded to a new team, however, he would still be only a restricted free agent in 2019. In other words, unrestricted free agency and the waiver wire do not use the same criteria.
Gordon played against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and caught a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter with under two minutes to play, leading to a tie score that would ultimately hold through the entire 10-minute overtime period. It was the Browns’ first non-loss in over a year.
He reportedly re-injured his hamstring on Friday while participating in a personal-interest photoshoot. He also reported to the facility late yesterday and seemed to be out of sorts. Which is never something you want to see from a player who has been suspended several times over drug use.