BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots went out and acquired an all-world talent in Josh Gordon on Monday, and the trade finally became official on Tuesday.
With that news came plenty of reaction, most of which focused on the present and the near future. Will Gordon be able to show up on time? Does he have a grasp on his substance abuse issues? If he’s fine off the field, can he even learn the Patriots’ complicated playbook?
While there are no answers yet on the short term, ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared a potential long-term benefit to the trade that — if things work out on and off the field — could make this deal a complete steal for the Patriots.
“He’s making $790,000 this season. So the Patriots pick up that contract, with the ability to tender him as a restricted free agent after this year for another $1.9 million,” Schefter said on his podcast. “They may control Josh Gordon for two years at under $2.7 million — which, if you look at what some of the top wide receivers in the game are making, that is nothing.”
This past offseason certainly was the Year Of The Wide Receiver in terms of teams shelling out big bucks for wideouts. Between Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, and Sammy Watkins, the cash was flowing, to the point where Julio Jones’ contract (which began in 2015 and pays him $14 million per year) looked like a severe underpay.
Schefter said that the Patriots were “as weak at [wide receiver] as any team in the league,” so if Gordon can produce at even 70 percent of what he was in 2013 (87 receptions, 1,646 yards, 9 TDs in 14 games), and if he can indeed avoid suspensions, getting nearly two full seasons of production out of a player like that in his prime would be a total bargain.
Of course, as everybody else has done, Schefter cautioned that such an outcome is far from a guarantee or even a likelihood.
“This is a different gamble than the Patriots are used to taking, and it very well may explode,” Schefter said.
However, if it doesn’t work out and Gordon is not active for at least 10 games this season, then the Patriots will get a seventh-round pick in return for Gordon, mitigating the cost (a fifth-round pick) by a significant margin.
“If it explodes and it doesn’t work out, then all the Patriots will have lost is a fifth-round pick. And the cost of Gordon can’t be beat,” Schefter said.