Gordon is also well worth trade consideration after a career-high 10 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown in the Browns' 31-27 Week 3 win in Minnesota.
The 2012 second-round supplemental draft pick is just getting his feet wet in the pros and didn't even have the benefit of training camp as a rookie. Norv Turner's vertical-based passing offense is perfect for Gordon, who is emerging as one of the NFL's premier deep threats even at just 22 years old.
Although he is coming off a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, it should be the last slip-up for Gordon—simply because he can't afford any more.
Plus, as the Associated Press reports via ESPN, he didn't knowingly ingest the banned codeine substance, which was in cough medicine he took back in February to recover from strep throat.
Cleveland was recently the center of controversy when the new front office of CEO Joe Banner and GM Mike Lombardi decided to trade running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick in 2014. Many believed the team was tanking the season.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Browns were open to moving Gordon too as of Sunday morning:
After such a magnificent performance, though, it's hard to imagine Gordon being swapped for an unproven asset as Richardson was. He is far more indispensable to the offense.
Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski corroborated that on Monday, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot:
There are plenty of ways to criticize the Browns' previous regime, but former GM Tom Heckert definitely nailed it in drafting Gordon and sacrificing a second-round draft choice from this year.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer targeted Gordon a whopping 19 times in Week 3, and the obvious way the 6'3", 225-pound Gordon can stretch the field was on display in the opening 47-yard touchdown.
Gordon also had a 22-yard run on an end around, took a bubble screen for 30 yards and even went over the middle of the field for tough catches. Not only is he dangerous down the field, but he's also electric with the ball in his hands in the open field.
Off-field issues aside, Gordon has the complete physical package—and he's only bound to get better as he matures into a consummate pro.
Since Cleveland's best option at running back is Willis McGahee and since Hoyer played reasonably well against the Vikings, the Browns are likely to keep throwing the ball a lot this season. Look for Gordon as a legitimate No. 1 option for the Browns and in terms of fantasy stardom.
The AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals come to Cleveland in Week 4, and Gordon should continue to prove himself against a pass defense that ranks 15th in the NFL thus far.
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