Fooch’s update: General manager John Lynch told 49ers beat writers the team has inquired about Josh Gordon and is doing their due diligence on him. The Browns announced plans to release Gordon on Monday, and have until 1 p.m. PT Monday to make it official. That gives the 49ers up to 24 hours to figure out their options.
The Cleveland Browns announced on Saturday that they plan to release wide receiver Josh Gordon on Monday, likely with the hopes of generating trade interest before then. “A few teams” have inquired with the Browns, per Pro Football Talk, but there is no word on who they are. However, Gordon would be interested in playing for the San Francisco 49ers or Dallas Cowboys, NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.
If the Browns get even a conditional late round pick, that might be enough to unload Gordon before they release him. They control his rights for now, but because he is a vested veteran, he would not have to go through waivers if released. Thus, if released, he would have his choice of any of the other teams.
Of course, just because Gordon is interested in a given team does not mean it will happen. It takes two to get a deal done, and we don’t know yet if the 49ers have interest in bringing Gordon over. Kyle Shanahan was Cleveland’s offensive coordinator in 2014 — a season in which Gordon was suspended the first ten games, he 24 passes for 303 yards in five games, and then was suspended the final game for violating a team rule.
Gordon’s peak saw him catch 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. In the five years since then, he’s played in 11 total games, including none in 2015 and 2016. He has natural talent, but with that much missed time, it’s safe to say he’s probably not the receiver he was in 2013.
That’s not to say he isn’t an upgrade for a lot of teams, but the 49ers could decide there are just too many questions and they want to see what their own group can do. Marquise Goodwin is out with a thigh bruise, but Dante Pettis is getting the opportunity in his place. Given how much time Gordon has missed over the past five years, it’s hard to say whether or not he’s an upgrade. My guess is he would be a solid addition from a pure talent perspective, but even if that’s the case, nobody knows if he will stay on the field. Any team considering trading for or signing him will need to factor that into the equation.