Well that came out of nowhere. Josh Gordon’s troubles are well-documented, but he seemed to finally be on the right path. Gordon’s latest problem is (thankfully) not related to any kind of substance abuse, but it was enough for the Browns to finally be fed up to the point of releasing him.
It’s hard to blame Cleveland for making this move. But while they’re unquestionably parting ways with Gordon, they may not actually end up releasing him. Adam Schefter also reports that multiple league sources believe the Browns will trade Gordon prior to his official release on Monday. No matter how it all plays out, Gordon will be playing for a different NFL team this season. With one of the most talented wide receivers in the league set to have a new home, what would be the best fits for Gordon’s fantasy outlook going forward?
1. New England Patriots
Hey, Gordon owners. Raise your hands if you’d like Tom Brady throwing to him for the rest of the season. That’s it, keep em up. Okay so that’s 1, 2…all of you? Yeah, that seems about right.
The Patriots obviously have a need at wide receiver. Chris Hogan is fine and Phillip Dorsett looks vastly improved, but Gordon would still step in and immediately be the best receiver on the team. He would be the deep threat, go-up-and-get-it WR that Tom Brady has lacked since Randy Moss. And once Julian Edelman returns, the Patriots would have one of the best WR corps in the league.
Gordon would also have plenty of weapons around him to take the pressure off, especially in the red zone where the combination of Rob Gronkowski and Gordon would give defenses nightmares. While Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson have looked solid to open the season, the fact is the Pats would jump at the chance to bump them down the depth chart a bit. If Gordon ends up being the man for the job, he’s a clear WR1 for the rest of the season.
2. Dallas Cowboys
While Gordon owners would love if Brady was throwing to him all season, the sheer volume of work Gordon could get on the Cowboys is almost as enticing. After parting ways with Dez Bryant, the Cowboys did very little to replace him, signing Allen Hurns in the offseason and drafting Michael Gallup. Neither player did anything against the Panthers in week one and it remains to be seen if either guy will be a consistent contributor this year. At the very least, neither guy will have the type of playmaking impact that Dez had in his prime.
But Gordon could be what Dez was, and potentially more. He’s a great athlete like Dez, has great hands, is a big body, and would get the lion’s share of targets in an offense where he’d be the best receiver by a mile. The Cowboys have plenty of incentive to take on the inherent risk that comes with Gordon. He would transform their offense and finally make them multi-dimensional again, rather than just running everything through Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke would benefit, Dak would benefit, and most importantly, Gordon’s fantasy owners would benefit if Jerry Jones decided to bring him aboard.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars’ offense is in an eerily similar situation to that of the Dallas Cowboys. They’re a run-first team with a stud running back and they lost their leading wide receiver from 2017. While that was Dez for the Cowboys, it’s Marqise Lee for the Jags. After losing Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson in the offseason, Jacksonville was counting on Lee to be a major contributor. Without him, they’re leaning on a trio of unproven commodities in Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, and Donte Moncrief. All three guys have shown plenty of potential, but none of them are the rock-solid anchor in the WR corps that Josh Gordon would be.
Obviously, Gordon owners would rather not have Blake Bortles throwing to him. But it’s not all bad. When Leonard Fournette’s healthy, a strong run game will take some attention away, a perk Gordon didn’t usually have on the Browns. Gordon has also proved time and time again that quality of quarterback doesn’t affect his performance much. So while owners would certainly prefer he catch passes from a guy like Brady, Rodgers, or Brees, he’s shown he can make do with guys like Bortles. After all, during his incredible 2013 season where he had 1,646 yards and 9 TDs, Gordon was catching balls from a combination of Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer.
The fantasy situations listed above are some of the best for Gordon’s value. But as long as he can get over his hamstring injury, he’ll be fantasy-relevant no matter where he goes. It’s hard to imagine a team not taking a chance on Gordon, especially since his latest issue just seems like an unfortunate accident. Fantasy owners will have to wait and see where the talented WR ends up come Monday.