The San Francisco 49ers' offense would finally be complete with the addition of wide receiver Josh Gordon. Adding his deep-play ability is the last missing piece in San Francisco, one that very well could be the difference between winning the Super Bowl or getting ready for next year.
That has to be worth a second-round pick, right?
Apparently, that's what it will take to pry Gordon from the Cleveland Browns.
The trusted Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passed along this news on the evolving Browns and their stance on the second-year wide receiver:
However, that may be too rich for the 49ers' taste. NFL.com's Chris Wesseling passed along news from Rapoport that this deal "is considered unlikely."
The 49ers (3-2) are in line to get receiver help even if they don't make a trade. Mario Manningham is set to come off of the physically unable to perform list in two weeks, and Michael Crabtree looks to be on track for a return in November from his Achilles injury.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News passed along this quote from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh about Crabtree: "Mid- to late November is what we're hoping for. He seems to be on track for that. He's starting to run."
Still, the fact that these guys are returning shouldn't stop the 49ers from pursuing this trade.
Crabtree's return will be a huge boost to the offense. He was clearly quarterback Colin Kaepernick's favorite and most effective target last year.
However, he is not going to stretch the field.
Meanwhile, Manningham offers more of an ability to stretch the field, but it remains to be seen how much explosion he will have while returning from his knee injury. Either way, he is not as dynamic of an option as Gordon.
Gordon is second on the Browns with 18 receptions and 303 receiving yards, and that's despite missing the first two games of the season while serving a suspension.
The 6'3", 225-pound player is growing by the week as a receiver after the Browns spent a second-round pick on him in the 2012 supplemental draft.
And as far as being an explosive threat, there's never been any denying his potential and production. As Mary Kay Cabot of the Northeast Ohio News Group relays, Gordon has seven career touchdowns. Those seven catches average more than 43 yards.
This deal would not come without risk. As Wesseling alludes to, there are character concerns with Gordon. Also, he faces a one-year suspension if he violates the league's substance abuse policy again.
Combine all of these factors, and it is easy to see why the 49ers would be hesitant to pull off this deal. However, the rewards make the risk well worth it.
The 49ers must be locked in a win-now mode. After coming up one play short of winning the Super Bowl last year, this team is loaded and capable of making a return trip to the big game.
However, the offense has become seriously bogged down at times this year. A big part of the reason has been the receivers' inability to get open.
Also, the lack of a deep threat has allowed opposing defenses to gear up to stop the run and spy Kaepernick.
With Gordon on the field, the 49ers would be able to make teams swiftly pay for stacking the box. This would make the 49ers' offense far more difficult to prepare for and defend.
As I said above, this could easily be the difference between adding another Lombardi Trophy in San Francisco or not. And that is an opportunity the 49ers can't afford to pass on.
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