When discussing recently wasted talents in football, you have to name Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. When he’s been on the field, Gordon has been one of the best receivers in the game. The problem is he’s barely been on the field. Gordon joined the NFL in 2012 when he was drafted in the second round by the Cleveland Browns. Of a potential 128 games total he could’ve played in, he’s only played in 63.
Gordon has faced a lot of suspensions due to violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons entirely. Now, Gordon is asking for reinstatement after playing in only 11 games last season. As the league is softening its stance on marijuana use, the 29-year-old wide receiver might have a strong chance of playing on Sundays again. There will certainly be interested teams.
It seems like every year, NFL fans discuss whether or not their teams should consider signing an insanely talented player with off-the-field issues. In this case, the news about Josh Gordon applying for reinstatement has me wondering how he would look wearing a Star on his helmet.
You see, the Dallas Cowboys are set to have an elite wide receiver unit with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and rookie CeeDee Lamb. While many would consider Gordon unnecessary due to the talent that’s already on the roster, I’d argue the contrary. With the team’s defense set to take a step back, the Cowboys are betting on their offense to become Super Bowl contenders. Why not continue to invest in a position that’s already a strength?
Many believe teams that are real candidates to winning it all are balanced, but the truth is they’re always elite on one side of the ball rather than just “good” in both. If the Cowboys are going all-in on Dak Prescott’s offense, getting Josh Gordon on the team could be a brilliant move.
They have starters, that much is clear. But the NFL is a tough league in which injuries constantly take place. If any of the Cowboys’ top three receivers get injured, who’d step up? While there are some young unproven candidates like Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown, none of them seem like a reliable plug-and-play alternative for the Cowboys.
Despite availability concerns, it’s difficult to feel better about any of those guys than about Gordon. In his first two seasons, Josh showed what he was all about, racking up 805 yards as a rookie and an NFL-leading 1,646 yards in 2013.
Even in 2019, Gordon displayed his talents with the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks as he averaged 15.8 yards per reception in limited playing time. If you think he’s anywhere close to being “washed,” I suggest taking a look at his level of play last year.
If he’s reinstated by the NFL, signing Josh Gordon shouldn’t be an expensive endeavor. We know the Cowboys aren’t afraid of getting talent at a discount due to off-the-field issues. After all, the team just signed recently reinstated DE Aldon Smith earlier this year and is still waiting on the league’s response to Randy Gregory’s application.
“Low-risk, High-reward” might sound like a cliché by now, but that’s exactly what Gordon would be for Dallas as an unrestricted free agent. He could make a big difference for the Cowboys if they are able to get him for the 2020 NFL season.