Sitting at 3-5 the Cleveland Browns seem to be on the fence as to whether or not they are going to try and compete this year.
After dealing Trent Richardson to the Colts it looked as though the Browns were going to try to continue to move their big name players in an effort to make the 2013 NFL Draft the new Cleveland Browns Invitational Draft.
But before his season-ending injury, Brian Hoyer gave the Browns fans some hope along with up and coming tight end Jordan Cameron and wide receiver Josh Gordon.
Last week Jason Campbell, despite his critics, almost led the Browns to a huge upset of the still undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns let the trade deadline pass without making a move and it looks as though they are content to play the guys they have now in hopes that the draft will continue to improve their team, as it likely will.
While they will probably be a much better team next year, the Browns could have moved Josh Gordon and likely gotten a good return for him. Gordon has shown that he is both matchup and quarterback proof; no matter who he’s playing against or who is throwing the ball to him he can be productive.
Setting current contracts and available money aside, here are five teams that the Browns could have and should still consider in the offseason, sending Gordon to.
New England Patriots:
Patriots fans, you had to know that Danny Amendola wasn’t going to work. Yes, he’s talented, as he’s proven in the games that he’s played in. But he’s also made of glass. He’s kind of like a boat that sits in a harbor; while it’s safe in the harbor, that’s not what boats are made for.
Amendola has been in the “harbor” for five games this season. A guy like Gordon could really help this Patriots team out. Gordon would fill the same role that Brandon Lloyd did except that he would be much more effective in that role.
It’s looking as though Brady is going to have to put the Pats on his back the rest of the season and while the return of Rob Gronkowski will help, Brady will desperately need another consistent threat to throw to this season and in years to come.
This is my biased pick for Gordon’s new team. Would you ever think of Steve Smith as being the second wide receiver on a team? Probably not, but that’s what would happen if the Panthers had Gordon in their lineup. Over his entire career, Smith has constantly been doubled teamed by his opponents, because there hasn’t been another consistent threat at wide receiver for the Panthers.
And even still, he has become one of the most dependable and explosive wide receivers in the league. If the Panthers were able to add Gordon, it would open opportunities up for both him and Smith because they would essentially have two No. 1 wide receivers.
Guys like Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn would be the supporting cast, although they would likely see their stats increase as the attention for opposing defenses would no doubt be on Gordon and Smith. It’s not often that the addition of one player completely changes a team, but this is one of those rare times that it would.
San Francisco 49ers:
So far the 49ers have put up a lot of points against some not so good defenses. It’s hard to argue when a team makes it to the halfway point in the season and they’ve only lost two games, but I don’t think the 49ers are that good.
While Anquan Boldin put on a show in his first game this season, he has quieted down since then. The 49ers' wide receivers include Boldin, Kyle Williams, Jon Baldwin, Kassim Osgood, Quinton Patton, and probably Michael Crabtree when he gets back from his injury.
And don’t forget Vernon Davis. That guy is a freak and could play wide receiver if they wanted him to. This group of wide outs is really no threat to opposing defenses, but adding Gordon could change that. Gordon, along with Davis, Boldin, and Crabtree would be a defensive nightmare along with Frank Gore taking handoffs from Colin Kaepernick.
The Colts and the Browns seem to have a good rapport with each other after pulling off the Trent Richardson deal so maybe they could get together and get a deal done with Gordon.
With the season-ending injury to Reggie Wayne the Colts will now turn to T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Hilton is for real, Heyward-Bey is not. Heyward-Bey has likely seen some success this season because defenses were more worried about Wayne and Hilton.
Now that Wayne is gone Heyward-Bey will get the attention on the field that he doesn’t want.
Gordon and Wayne are similar in that they both have skill sets that aren’t common among most wide outs. And while both of these players are deep threat players, they are also both young enough and talented enough that they would likely be able to incorporate the short passing game into their already deep threat game and would then open things up for Richardson.
Give Andrew Luck and Gordon an offseason to figure each other out and the Colts would be a dangerous team.
This is the one team of the five that doesn’t need Gordon, but it would be a lot of fun to see him out there with this group. Just as Gordon would make Steve Smith the number two guy in Carolina, Calvin Johnson would make Gordon the No. 2 guy in Detroit. Did you know Matthew Stafford likes to sling the ball around the field all day long?
Stafford is currently first in pass attempts this season with 338 and third in completions with 211. He is also second in passing yards with 2,617, tied for fourth in touchdowns with 16, and averages 327 yards per game.
And he does all of this with his main targets being Johnson and Reggie Bush. The game plan for opposing defenses each week is likely very simple and probably reads, “Stafford is going to throw the ball and then throw it some more.” And then run it in on a fake spike at the goal line. That was awesome last week.
If the Lions added Gordon, it may not be unlikely for them to have a 200 yard receiver in every game of the season. If Johnson can put up 300+ yards by himself in a game, what would happen if you put a player like Gordon lining up with him? It would also be beneficial to Gordon to be around an elite player like Johnson, who is reportedly one of the most humble professional athletes to ever step on a field and symbolically punch teams in the mouth.