Talent Aside, Seahawks Should Avoid WR Josh Gordon

Though incredibly talented, Gordon couldn’t make it work despite receiving multiple chances in Cleveland and New England, so Seattle should take a pass when it comes to putting in a waiver claim on the troubled receiver.
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As expected, the Patriots officially waived Josh Gordon from injured reserve on Thursday, providing the opportunity for all other 31 teams to potentially put a claim on the veteran receiver.

If Seahawks general manager John Schneider wanted to build a championship-caliber roster on Madden, putting a waiver claim on Gordon would be a slam dunk. Without the human element involved and only talent mattering, he’d be an outstanding addition.

From a schematic standpoint, Seattle loves to take downfield shots in the passing game and when his head is on straight, Gordon has been as good of a vertical threat as any receiver in the NFL. Imagining him beating a cornerback deep and hauling in a beautiful, high-arching throw from quarterback Russell Wilson makes such a move enticing.

But while the Seahawks certainly could use another quality receiver alongside Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Schneider and the front office should steer clear of Gordon at all costs.

If Bill Belichick and Tom Brady couldn’t make the marriage work in Foxboro, how would Seattle fare any differently?

Talent creates opportunity in the NFL and Gordon has already benefited from this advantage countless times since being picked in the supplemental draft by the Browns in 2012. To this point, he hasn’t been able to capitalize on any of those chances and keeps driving down the same dark road.

Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards and scored nine touchdowns while averaging a ridiculous 18.9 yards per game in 2013, garnering First-Team All-Pro honors. But that’s been nearly six years ago and since then, the player he once was has only been seen in small glimpses sandwiched around lengthy suspensions.

A 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy cost him most of the 2014 season. He didn’t play at all in 2015 and 2016 due to multiple failed drug tests and the league didn’t reinstate him until November 30, 2017, causing him to miss 43 straight regular season games.

Tired of his act, the Browns traded Gordon to the Patriots in September 2018 after he suffered an injury in an off-field event and showed up late for a practice. At first, the deal looked to favor New England, as he caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games.

But as has been the case his entire career, Gordon couldn’t run away from his demons. He left the Patriots in late December facing an indefinite ban for violating his conditional reinstatement under the NFL’s drug enforcement policy and didn’t play at all in the playoffs.

Unfortunately, even after being reinstated again before the start of the 2019 season, Gordon’s production waned in six games this year for New England. Prior to suffering minor knee and ankle injuries, he caught 20 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown in six games and then the team promptly placed him on injured reserve.

Fast forward three weeks later and the 28-year old Gordon now has a chance at yet another fresh start. Several teams will inevitably put in a claim because winning means everything in the league and adding a big-bodied, athletic receiver of his caliber could be the difference between making the playoffs and coming up short.

That would be, of course, if Gordon can actually stay on the field, something he hasn’t been able to do for the majority of his NFL career.

While I’m rooting for Gordon to overcome his history of addiction and wish him well finding his next employer, I don’t think it would be a wise decision for the Seahawks to position themselves to be that team.