The San Francisco 49ers are one of two potential landing destinations for wide receiver Josh Gordon, per reports, who the Cleveland Browns are cutting ties with on Monday. Is Gordon and the Niners a good fit?
Unexpected news broke Saturday morning that Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon would not only not be playing Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but that he was also on his way out of Cleveland.
Instead of trading Gordon, the Browns were expected to cut him on Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported over the weekend.
But we also found out that at least two teams have Gordon’s eye in the sweepstakes, per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network:
Rapoport later adds the San Francisco 49ers attempted to trade for Gordon in 2014, offering a second-round pick and running back Kendall Hunter. Between Gordon’s mutual interest and the teams’ need at wide receiver, it’s a fit certainly plausible.
With thin wide receiver depth and Marquise Goodwin battling a quad injury, the Niners are in the market for extra help at the position. While I’m a huge fan of Goodwin and his potential, as I talked about here, he lacks the size and red-zone presence of a true No. 1 receiver. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and a hand size of 10 inches, what Goodwin and fellow receiver Pierre Garçon lack, Gordon exhibits.
Gordon would not just be of assistance, but potentially a game changer. Still only 27 years old, Gordon has plenty production left in the tank and out-of-this-world talent, possibly a top-three receiving talent in the NFL.
In Week 1, Gordon had a solid game, highlighted by this insane sideline catch for a 17-yard touchdown:
The 49ers red-zone inefficiencies has been well documented. In six games started for San Francisco, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has only seven touchdowns. While Jimmy G has shown consistency in moving the chains in between the 20s, he has not been as effective inside opponents’ 20-yard lines.
In 41 career games, Gordon has 16 touchdowns, a solid mark with such poor quarterback play.
Gordon has never played with a quarterback of Garaoppolo’s caliber, and it would be fun to see what the two could accomplish together. Matt Okada of TheFFBallers breaks down Gordon’s incredible 2013 season and career with sub-par quarterbacks:
"Even in his revelatory 2013 season, where he sported a slightly better 54.7% catch rate, Gordon’s QBs were Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer.Over the course of his topsy-turvy career, Gordon has averaged 17.3 yards per reception. That’s higher than the career averages of Calvin Johnson (15.9), Randy Moss (15.6), Julio Jones (15.5) and pretty much every other receiver of note."
Besides the ultra-elite talent, the 49ers also know the baggage and drug history he brings with him.
It begs the question, what did Gordon do this time to fully lose the trust of the Browns’ new regime?
It’s a question that the Niners need to do their due diligence on.
Even so, the upside of bringing his talent on board and adding a talented receiver to Garoppolo’s arsenal may be too hard to pass up.
Peace out, Cleveland. On to a new chapter and a clean slate.
Bring your talents to the Bay Area, Flash Gordon.