Yesterday, our benevolent leader posted on a rumor that the San Francisco 49ers had talked with the Cleveland Browns about a potential trade for wide receiver Josh Gordon. They were just preliminary talks, of course, and nothing is imminent, but it's an interesting situation, regardless.
The initial reports suggested that the Browns were after a second-round pick in exchange for Gordon. Now, given his production to this point, I'd be surprised if that second-round pick didn't also include something along the lines of a later day three pick on top of that. Realistically, we're probably talking a second-round pick and either a fringe player or a later-round pick.
That's just my opinion, anyway. And of course, keep in mind that right now the trade is officially "unlikely," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That's likely due to the fact that the Browns don't want to trade him ... I'd assume their primary motivation is his off-the-field issues.
And to me, that's the biggest reason the 49ers wouldn't want him. It's not that they have some kind of moral high ground or anything like that, it's just that they don't need another headache after the Aldon Smith nonsense. However, I do not think that is detrimental enough to prevent the 49ers from trading for him. (Also, I happen to think a change of scenery would be good for him).So in other words, I think it's more about whether or not Cleveland really wants to deal.
So what do I think about whether or not it would be a good trade? I think it would be a perfect fit. There are a number of reasons for this. Let's examine them below:
1. 49ers Lack Receivers
This is obvious. As it stands, the 49ers have Anquan Boldin, one potentially awesome play from Kyle Williams per game, and the distant possibility that Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree are able to return from injury. Manningham seems likely to return following Week 6, but Crabtree is the fickle promise of a player returning from a seriously debilitating injury somewhat ahead of schedule (November). How many eggs are the 49ers putting into that basket?
2. The Shoe Fits
Even if the 49ers got Crabtree and Manningham back, and even if in this scenario Boldin remains healthy, Gordon s not a superfluous addition. Gordon is a different receiver than all three of them, and its worth noting that those three are very similar, as well. Gordon is a deep threat who has demonstrated solid route running. He has game-breaking big-play potential, even with guys like Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer throwing him the football. He could line up alongside Crabtree, Boldin or Manningham (he'd certainly get more snaps than the third on that list and possibly more than the second) and not be a superfluous addition whatsoever.
The 49ers haven't had a player with Gordon's skillset since Terrell Owens. Yep.
3. The Price Is Right
In his rookie season -- and keep in mind he plays for the Browns -- Brown caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns. He had an average of 16.1 yards per reception, a long of 71 yards and 40 first downs. That was when he was supposed to be raw and rough around the edges. his season, in three games, he's caught 18 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns. He's only played in three games due to a suspension.
If the Browns are asking for a second-round pick, the price certainly adds up, especially for a 22-year-old in his second year in the NFL.
4. The Compensation Is Already A Luxury
Here, the "compensation" is a second-round pick. I'm calling it a luxury because the Kansas City Chiefs are 5-0 right now and getting at least eight wins seems incredibly likely. When the Chiefs get eight wins, the conditional draft pick involved in the Alex Smith trade becomes a second rounder. Given the way the 49ers have been drafting, trading said second rounder for Gordon seems like an incredibly smart bet, no? In short, the 49ers would be getting Tank Carradine and Josh Gordon for Alex Smith -- a backup quarterback.
Seems good to me.
5. Who Wants Another Rookie?
I'm not going to say that Trent Baalke is bad at drafting wide receivers solely because he pulled the trigger on A.J. Jenkins. That was an abomination of a pick, and many of us saw that in the beginning, but it was a swing and a miss. Nothing more, nothing less. But who in the world wants to deal with another rookie receiver? Even Crabtree was kind of ... bad for a season or two before he was good last year. Ronald Johnson and Kyle Williams haven't done much ... I know we all hope Quinton Patton develops into something special, but who wants to deal with that again? Not me.
6. Win Now
This is kind of expanding on point No. 5, but the 49ers want to win now. Not later, now. They got to the Super Bowl last year, and what they need right now is indisputable: a wide receiver. Gordon is ready to make big plays from the onset, and would be able to play immediately running a limited number of routes. San Francisco spent the 2013 NFL Draft drafting guys for the future -- guys like the aformentioned Carradine and Marcus Lattimore. They can afford to spend a second-round pick on a guy like Gordon.