Should the Eagles Make A Trade For Josh Gordon?

By Paul Bowman, Eagledelphia Managing Editor

On Saturday night, Adam Schefter of ESPN announced that the Browns intended to release Josh Gordon on Monday.

It came as no surprise that teams began to contact the Browns about the former second-round pick shortly after the news was released.

The Browns were content with releasing Gordon and getting nothing in return. With multiple teams calling with the intention of acquiring Gordon’s services, the Browns would be crazy to simply release the wideout when there is any offer on the table. After only one hour and five minutes, the news had changed from a release, to a near certainty Gordon will be traded.

It would be hard to believe that Howie Roseman, the man who makes more trades with the Eagles than any other team in the NFL, has not checked in with Cleveland, but should the Eagles pursue a trade for Gordon?

Philadelphia is currently without their top wide receiver as Alshon Jeffery continues to heal from a torn rotator cuff suffered in training camp last season. They are also without his backup, Mack Hollins, who is on the Injured Reserve. That left the Eagles with a wide receiver corps that combined for only 43 yards in the season opener – and 33 of those yards came from Nelson Agholor. The Eagles may also be without Shelton Gibson heading into Sunday’s game, meaning that Kamar Aiken, who was just signed earlier this week, is likely to see playing time. Gordon would easily be an upgrade over Aiken and even over DeAndre Carter. That may be half of the position group in Sunday’s game.

Gordon is a productive player. In his first season, he racked up 805 yards before he broke out for 1,646 yards in only 14 games of his second season. In his first five games back from his suspension last season, Gordon piled up 335 yards – still a 1,000-yard season projected over 16 games (1,072 yards to be exact). He is clearly a skilled receiver. He is also owed less than $1 million this season and could be retained with a low cap hit next season as a restricted free agent.

He has multiple off-the-field issues, however. A lot of those issues revolve around substance abuse and not taking training and football seriously. But is that an issue for the Eagles? Not necessarily. The Eagles locker room has a lot of leaders who would not let Gordon get away with that behavior in Philadelphia. It may be the best locker room to break Gordon of his issues. Additionally, some fans may recall a trade for Jay Ajayi last season. Ajayi was a “locker room issue” according to Miami, but that didn’t stop the Eagles from making the trade. To date, no issues with Ajayi have been reported. In some cases, his presence has been reported as beneficial. If the Eagles believe that Gordon is trying to be better (as he says he is) it would not be a surprise that the Eagles take a chance on him as they did with Ajayi.

The issue with Gordon is cost. When Howie Roseman traded for Jay Ajayi, it was out of the blue. The league was not in a sort of bidding war for the running back as they are now for Gordon. The Ajayi trade also occurred at the deadline when the Dolphins wanted to get something back after they decided their season was lost. The Browns have no such time restraint. Finally, the Ajayi trade took place at a midpoint in the season where teams are unlikely to move players or high draft picks. With only one week completed, teams may be willing to put more on the table.

The Eagles have more draft picks than any other team in the 2019 draft – they are expected to get three compensatory picks which would give them 11 total picks. If Howie Roseman is able to work a deal that moves some of their lower draft picks for the wideout, the Eagles should jump on the opportunity, but at this juncture, the price looks to be higher than that.

There is no argument that Gordon would improve the Eagles offense, but it is likely that acquiring him would cost far more than the fourth round pick it cost to acquire Ajayi. The return of Jeffery and starting quarterback Carson Wentz are also looming closer, which will improve the offense at no cost. In all likelihood, it would be in the best interest of the Eagles not to make a move for Gordon. With Howie Roseman at the helm, however, anything is possible.

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