I would like for the 49ers to trade for Josh Gordon, but I doubt it will happen.
Not because Trent Baalke seemed to scoff at the notion in a recent interview. Baalke and Harbaugh are quickly becoming masters at not saying anything. I just don't think the trade makes sense for one team.
Don't get me wrong - I think it makes a lot of sense for the 49ers, and I trust Trent Baalke 100 percent in his ability to trade. We have seen him time and again getting great draft picks for players (Alex Smith anybody?) or giving up paltry picks for a great player (Q. /drops mic). He won't get fleeced in a trade, because he, presumably, knows when to walk away from a trade.
Conversely, Gordon is a talented, producing WR who is young and cheap. This is the kicker: he is a cost-controlled player on a rookie contract. Cheap talent is so valuable in this league, it's ridiculous. We should want Gordon on this team, even though he has some personal problems that might rear their head. I have to imagine that the 49ers are currently hyper-aware of the consequences that personal problems can have on a player. Hopefully this Aldon Smith situation will be instructive for how the team approaches players with bad habits. They might decide to be a little more hands on with certain players; and, if Gordon were on the team, he might receive that attention.
But the risk of personal problems is such much less than the boon of a productive, cost-controlled player. This is why I have found the argument "we shouldn't trade for Gordon because we have Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree coming back" to be unpersuasive. First, we don't know how healthy and productive they are going to be. And, even though the 49ers have much better vantage point from which to evaluate their potential productivity, they can't know either. Not until the two men are back on the field playing the game. Secondly, this trade wouldn't net us a player for this season and nothing else. Gordon would stick around, finishing out his contract with the 49ers. We would be bringing in talent for the next few years; he's a free agent in 2016.
Moreover, what is the point of stockpiling draft picks if you aren't going to use them in a high leverage situation? I think we sometimes have this Smaug-like attitude: horde ALL THE DRAFT PICKS! We can't dragon-sit on them forever. Utilize those resources.
I think this deal makes so much sense for the 49ers that we have to wonder if it makes sense for the Browns. All along, the Browns have been saying over and over that they are disinclined to trade Gordon. I think that they would want a large haul for him, something that no team in their right mind would be willing to give up.
And frankly, I can't blame them. The Browns are restructuring right now. That team is in a rebuilding phase. What is valuable for all NFL teams, but especially ones that are rebuilding? Say it with me: cost-controlled players.
I don't mean to harp so much, but the fact remains that Gordon is a valuable player to have right now, and the Browns are completely correct in shooing away potential trade partners. Just because he wasn't drafted by the current management (which is an oft-repeated sentence that makes no sense) does not constitute a logical reason why the Browns would trade Gordon.
So, while I would like the 49ers to offer up a reasonable and appropriate draft pick for Gordon, I doubt it will happen. It just doesn't make sense for the Browns.