5 Reasons Why the Patriots Should Not Trade for Browns WR Josh Gordon

Samer IsmailAnalyst IISeptember 24, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22: Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns carries the football during the game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 22, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

A few hours before the Cleveland Browns' inspired Week 3 win over the host Minnesota Vikings, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted:

Cleveland fielding offers for and open to trading WRs Josh Gordon and Greg Little. At least one team has made a quality offer for Gordon.

—Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 22, 2013

CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson then speculated, "We wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots were—or are—interested because their current wide receivers corps is in shambles."

According to The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot, Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said the Browns have no plans to trade Gordon. I would argue, however, that even if the Browns were to shop Gordon, the Patriots shouldn't make an offer.

And here are five reasons why.

1. The Patriots' offensive problems are overblown

Yes, the Patriots offense has not been as explosive as it has been over the last few years. Last year, the Patriots scored 82 points in their first three games. This year, just 59.

On the other hand, the Patriots started the 2012 season 1–2, losing to the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens by a combined three points.

And while one could certainly argue that the Patriots could be 1–2 this season as well—they narrowly beat both the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets—the key difference is that the Patriots defense has tightened up significantly this year. Each of the three opponents posted its lowest score of the season against New England's defense.

This is important because of reason number two:

2. The Patriots should get a huge talent boost midseason

As I recently wrote on B/R, Bill Belichick builds teams for December, not September.

And this year, the Patriots should be getting a huge infusion of talent over the next few weeks. On offense alone, the Patriots should be getting back wide receiver Danny Amendola, running back Shane Vereen and All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. They should also be getting back special teams ace Matthew Slater and defensive lineman Armond Armstead, who started the season on the non-football injury list.

In short, this Patriots team has a very good chance of being significantly better in Weeks 14 and 15 than they will be in Weeks 4 and 5. If Brady can build some more chemistry with his rookie receivers, Gordon would by then be more of a luxury than a necessity.

3. Gordon isn't very consistent

Gordon exploded for 146 yards on 10 carries in the Browns' Week 3 upset of the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, that's only Gordon's second career 100-yard game. Here's how his yards break down:

Those numbers hardly sound like those of a true game-changer.

4. Trading for Gordon might be too expensive

Gordon has a surprisingly large contract for a rookie not drafted in the first round. While the Patriots would not be responsible for his signing bonus if they traded for him, Gordon's entire 2013 salary is guaranteed, as is $300,000 of his 2014 salary.

So if the Gordon experiment failed, they could still be on the hook for several hundred thousand dollars.

One B/R writer—who doesn't claim to be a fan of either team—suggested the Patriots trade Ryan Mallett and a sixth-round pick for Gordon. Needless to say, that trade would be a non-starter, since it would leave the Patriots with only Tom Brady at quarterback.

Before the draft, the Patriots tried to sign Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet; it would have cost them a 2013 second-round pick if Pittsburgh had declined to match New England's offer (the Steelers did match).

Now, though, the Patriots have Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins, so it's not even clear how much they'd be willing to offer for Gordon at this juncture.

5. Trading for Gordon might be too risky

In an interview with Gordon posted to Cleveland.com by Cabot, Gordon acknowledged that if he fails another drug test, he faces a year's suspension under the NFL's personal conduct policy.

In the wake of the Aaron Hernandez fiasco, I imagine the Patriots will be leery of offering any significant trade chip without protection in case Gordon does get suspended.

(As an example of the sort of protection I'm talking about, the Dallas Cowboys originally paid a fourth-round pick in 2008 and a sixth-round pick in 2009 for cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. Because he was suspended during the 2008 season, the Tennessee Titans were forced to give back the Cowboys' sixth-round pick and give up their own fifth-rounder in 2009.)

For all of these reasons, the Patriots should not trade for Josh Gordon.


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