Gordon’s final Browns chapter resembles the others
The question for both wide receiver Josh Gordon and the Cleveland Browns regarding their impending breakup was more one of "when" than "if."
So, this latest news of Gordon being on the wrong side of the NFL law is neither revelation nor game-changing for the Browns. There’s no way Gordon could have been in the team’s plans, and if another one-year suspension is on the way at least it will save Browns general manager Ray Farmer precious phone battery in the coming weeks.
The Browns tried to make the Gordon Experiment worth the headache.
Gordon can’t follow the rules, can’t show up on time, can’t be counted on for anything by guys who make a lot of money to try and save the sinking Browns ship. The latest report that he broke a league mandate by testing positive for alcohol comes as no huge surprise inside or out of the Browns building and, per the report, will cost Gordon the 2015 season. He might never reach even restricted free agency, let alone a really big payday, and a consistent pattern in his action shows he’s not exactly fazed by the future.
Gordon showed long ago he doesn’t deserve any benefit of any doubt. It’s not coincidence that when the Browns sent a statement Sunday saying the team was aware of the report of the latest misstep but has not yet heard from the league, no one in the organization signed his name to it. The distancing from Gordon began four weeks ago — maybe longer
On his way out the door, he showed the team, again, that he doesn’t care.
The 2013 NFL receiving champion in just 14 games — a four-game suspension was bargained down to two to start that year — is the kind of talent who makes between $20-$45 million in his second contract when he becomes more than a one-year wonder. Even if you slice that in half given the red flags and that Gordon has failed more drug tests than he’s passed going back to his first college stop, he still had lots of reasons to think he’d cash in if he kept climbing, kept producing, kept playing to even 80 percent of his talent level.
That big, that fast and that good down the field are hard to find. It’s why the Browns, two administrations ago, used a second-round supplemental draft pick on him. It’s why the administration that departed 50 weeks ago fought the urge to trade him, thinking it would get big returns or better value down the road. It’s why a team that showed progress by winning seven games in 2014 but just one after Gordon returned from a 10-game, shortened by bargain suspension stood behind him until he just didn’t show up for a walkthrough the day before the season finale.
One of the Browns unwritten, unspoken goals for 2014 and beyond was to quit being a league laughingstock.
The team was going to move on from Gordon anyway. He delivered one more black eye on his way out.