The everlasting illusion of whether Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will return to the NFL or not is finally over, as he was recently reinstated by the league this week. Starting November 27th, Gordon will become eligible to compete in his first regular season game since December 21st of 2014.
Having the opportunity to play within the final five games for the Browns, what impact will Gordon wind up leaving on the field?
Having lead the league with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013, Gordon would average an astounding 117.6 yards per game during that span. His talent has been undeniable from when he stepped foot within the league in 2012, as he was one of the very few bright spots within Cleveland’s roster.
Although Gordon has rarely tasted the feeling of victory, he may be one of the biggest headlines within the 2018 free agent market. Although he will be viewed as a restricted free agent, if Gordon can display some potential towards the end of the 2017 season, he may be in for quite the payday from an outside franchise.
On a completely different note, is there a chance that Gordon doesn’t live up to his potential? Going through rehabilitation and ongoing individual workouts may not be enough for the 26-year old to mold into his previous form.
Since his absence from the Browns partway through the 2014 season, the next top receivers in Cleveland based on receiving yards have been Gary Barnidge (1,043 yards in 2015), and Terrelle Pryor (1,007 yards in 2016). What do both of these individuals have in common? Both Barnidge and Pryor are no longer with the franchise, and have seen their level of play regress drastically.
The quarterbacks within Cleveland aren’t what most would call “reliable”, yet that has never stopped Gordon from flashing up numbers in the stats sheet. During his 2013 record-breaking season, it was held together by the likes of Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and a featuring of Brian Hoyer.
All in all, Gordon will become one of the riskiest players to gamble on within the NFL this upcoming off-season. While it seems as though his “off the field” issues are water under the bridge, how often do we see a player of this caliber return and preform at an elite level?
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