The following story was written just after the NFL trade deadline on Oct. 29. After the trade deadline, Josh Gordon caught 55 passes for 1,064 yards with four 100-yard plus games, including two, 200-yard games in just an eight-game span.
Gordon was named to his first Pro Bowl and was named first team AP All-Pro wide receiver opposite Calvin Johnson. Gordon led the NFL in receiving yardage with 1,646 yards on 87 receptions, both franchise records.
The scary part for Browns fans is it was pretty obvious the Browns were making Gordon available to be traded.
Sometimes the Best Trades are those not Made
With the NFL trade deadline passing, Browns fans can take a deep sigh of relief that Josh Gordon is still on the roster.
After weeks of rumors by national correspondents that the Browns were entertaining offers to possibly deal Gordon and Jordan Cameron among others, nothing materialized.
It's obvious that Gordon is one strike away from being suspended by the NFL, but players are one play away from season-ending injuries, as well. (i.e. Travis Benjamin, Brian Hoyer). After watching the Browns offense for a long time, the Browns need more play makers, not less.
Gordon is definitely the most explosive player on the offensive side of the ball. He is hardly a finished product, but he is the one player that defenses have to account for.
NFL GM's are obsessed with draft picks, but even if the Browns were to have received a first- or second-round draft choice for Gordon, there is no guarantee they would be able to draft a player with the play making ability that Gordon has.
A painful memory for Browns fans is not too long ago the Browns accumulated three second-round selections (Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi and David Veikune) and none of them did a whole lot. There is a new regime drafting the players now, but even though it's too early to evaluate their first draft, only Barkevious Mingo is contributing in a major role this year to date. Third-round pick Leon McFadden has not been able to get on the field as a cornerback, which is a position that the Browns could use help at. Just because the Browns have a ton of draft picks in 2014 doesn't assure they will pick the right players.
The perception is that the trade for Trent Richardson is tilting in the Browns direction. However, I don't see any backs on the roster currently better than Richardson. It is fine to trade players, but until there is an upgrade or at least an equivalent replacement, it isn't always the best thing to do. Whatever happened to the adage 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush'?
The Browns might not be better with Richardson, but would they be a better team without Gordon this Sunday and moving forward?
It probably will remain a mystery at what price the Browns would've pulled the trigger on the trade for Gordon, but at least for now, the Browns are better off.
Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner went on record at the press conference after the firing of Rob Chudzinski that this is a crucial off-season for the Browns moving forward.
"You all have heard this way more times than I have because most of you have been around here a lot longer, but this is the crucial offseason for the Cleveland Browns," Haslam said. "Joe and I accept that. We accept the responsibility, we have lots of room on the cap, we have 10 draft picks as we mentioned, and we have to hire a new coach."
The reason we're dredging up the Gordon ‘no-trade' is because it is our opinion the Browns were seriously trying to trade Gordon at the trade deadline if they would've been able to get a first-round draft pick for him.
It can't be confirmed, but many of the national writers that were ‘leaked' information regarding Chudzinski being on the hot seat were the same sources who were alluding that Gordon might be traded around the deadline. That was coming from somewhere or they wouldn't have said it.
As it turns out, it is highly doubtful anyone in the front office would confirm that at this point because the way Gordon played after the deadline, but the fact the Browns were considering trading their most explosive play maker raises questions about the talent evaluation process.
Is there any guarantee they could acquire a wide receiver as good as Gordon in the first round this year. Some would say, Clemson's Sammy Watkins, Texas A & M's Mike Evans, Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin or USC's Marqise Lee might look good in a Browns uniform, but there's no guarantee they will be more productive than Gordon.
The Browns need to add playmakers, rather than trade them away. How about adding one of them opposite of Gordon?