Trading Josh Gordon Would Be a Massive Mistake for Cleveland Browns

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22: Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns carries the football during the first quarter of the game 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

It is not a surprise that NFL teams are interested in trading for Josh Gordon. The key for the Cleveland Browns is to avoid letting go of the talented receiver.

ESPN's Adam Schefter recently reported that the squad has received a number of offers for Gordon:

The good news is that the Browns are currently "balking" at the offers. Team CEO Joe Banner also told Jim Corbett of USA Today, "We're absolutely not shopping Josh. We're not going to shop him and we don't have any plan or intention to trade him."

This would seem pretty clear in most cases, but the pressure might be too great to ignore. Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk outlined 13 different teams that could potentially trade for Gordon. Considering this is almost half the league, a bidding war could make an offer that is too tough to ignore.

Banner already made a high-profile move this season when he traded away former first-round pick Trent Richardson. It would be less surprising to see Gordon traded before the deadline.

However, it is important to resist this urge. The team needs to think about the future, and Gordon is one of the players that should be around for a long time.

When a team goes through a rebuilding process, it is important to find the pieces necessary to win a championship. While those could be found in the draft, it is a mistake to give away those potential pieces that are already there.

Despite his faults, Gordon is clearly the type of player who can help his team win a Super Bowl. The receiver has good size with great speed and catching ability that makes him among the best at his position.

After an impressive rookie season, the former Baylor star has been even better in 2013. In five games, he already has 27 catches for 450 receiving yards and two touchdowns. His average of 90 yards per game ranks seventh in the NFL.

Even if Cleveland gets a first-round pick in a trade, it is unlikely the team finds anyone much better than Gordon in the draft. Players like Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee or Mike Evans would be solid additions, but they would be fortunate to reach Gordon's production in his first year-and-a-half in the league.

Of course, the Browns will not be looking for a receiver in the first round. It is much more likely they look for a quarterback who can be a franchise player for the next decade. Brandon Weeden clearly is not that guy, and Brian Hoyer has not proven enough to trust him in the future.

Therefore, a young quarterback will come in next season and likely be asked to start right away. Do you think he would rather throw to Gordon or another rookie who was a second- or third-round pick at wide receiver?

Besides Jordan Cameron, the Browns have few other weapons on the offense end. Gordon would help the development of a young passer as someone who can be trustworthy on the field.

Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) catches a pass while being defended by Buffalo Bills free safety Aaron Williams (23) for a touchdown during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally, Cleveland must use the remaining draft picks to continue filling holes on the roster. It would be a mistake to create even more holes with a trade.

Last and pretty much least, the Browns want to remain at least somewhat competitive this season. They do not want to anger fans even more after trading away Richardson, and dealing Gordon would accomplish that feat.

It would almost be tough to imagine Cleveland reaching double-digit points on a weekly basis after that.

Trading Gordon would cripple the offense this year and do nothing to help the unit in the future. Even with a strong package in a trade, the squad would be making a mistake by trading away the talented receiver.

Fortunately, it appears as though Banner is making a right decision by doing nothing.


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