So it’s come to this. The Cleveland Browns have announced that they will release wide receiver Josh Gordon on Monday. Gordon was listed as out for Sunday due to a hamstring injury, but given the cryptic statement by Browns general manager John Dorsey, there may be a bit more going on.
Browns to release WR Josh Gordon— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 15, 2018
Statement from GM John Dorsey: pic.twitter.com/bQmWraH8Nr
Gordon has been in the league since 2012, but most of his time has been marred by suspensions due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He will be going through the waiver process. If he clears waivers, he will be a free agent.
The entire Gordon situation has been bizarre in 2018. He was originally coming off the bench in Week 1’s tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but somehow was on the field for the first offensive snap anyways. He had a sudden hamstring injury that listed him as out for Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints. Whatever dysfunction is in the Cleveland offices will come out as the days roll on. Browns beatwriter Mary Kay Cabot reports that Gordon came to practice Saturday late and, “Not himself.” Cabot went on to suggest that the Browns thought he had relapsed.
As to why the Browns are waiting until Monday, Adam Schefter reports that he has vested veteran status, meaning once released, he is a free agent. The Browns are using the Monday release date as a play to trade him rather than let him go out as a free agent.
The San Francisco 49ers do need wide receiver help with Marquise Goodwin being sidelined from a quad injury, but it opens up opportunities for Dante Pettis and Richie James in the interim. I don’t see a scenario where Gordon could contribute or at least where he could come in without stunting the growth of the younger talent.
Gordon had loads of talent in his early years of the league, but substance abuse issues have short-circuited his football career. There’s still time for him to catch on with a team, but a lot of the best years of his talent has been lost while he’s been on the outside looking in.