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What the Heck Do We Do with Josh Gordon?

I am very much here for the Sixth Coming of our Gord and Savior. But that doesn’t mean I have the faintest inkling of how it will all play out. The Patriots have placed Josh Gordon on the Non-Football Injury list for the time being, but they dropped Dontrelle Inman when Gordon was reinstated, so all signs point to Gordon being a part of this team.

I asked the RotoViz Writers for their instant reactions on what it all means for the 2019 season.

Good for Brady, Bad for Everyone Else 

“Gordon was easily the most efficient target for Tom Brady last season, and his reinstatement should at least remove those Phillip Dorsett targets from the equation.

But it’s been a long time since Gordon was an impact player. He doesn’t command the kind of volume he once did and is a peripheral player in the offense. 

You still have to go back to 2013 to find a season where he’s averaged more than 12.0 PPG. Unfortunately, this takes some air out of N’Keal Harry, ruining the one clear value in this offense.”

— Shawn Siegele

Bless (But Avoid) This Mess

“The news surrounding Gordon’s conditional reinstatement (and rarely has the term conditional meant more in this type of situation) has affected me in a number of ways. I’m obviously happy to see such a talented player getting the chance to once again take to an NFL field. When you look at the list of quarterbacks Gordon has been saddled with during his NFL career, he has been productive with nearly all of them.

The negative part of my soul is screaming at me, however, and needs to be listened to. Gordon has been given chance after chance to show that football is the most important thing to him, and not off the field recreational supplements. He hasn’t been able to do this. However, he has shown that he is determined to get back on the field, and the chance to catch balls from Tom Brady, and potentially get to a Super Bowl that he missed last year, may be just what he needs.

From a footballing sense, a healthy Gordon seriously muddies what was an already muddy situation for the Patriots. N’Keal Harry has been struggling, Julian Edelman has been injured, and Jakobi Meyers had been making a name for himself before the Gordon news broke. Should Gordon make it onto the field, it’s a move that I fear sends all Patriots receivers into a place where I cannot rely on any of them on a weekly basis. I will therefore probably avoid all of them.”

— Neil Dutton

A Potentially Worthwhile Risk, but Only if the Price Is Right

“As it has been for the past five years, the good news for Gordon will remind drafters of the joyous 2013 season. But six years removed from his glory season, Josh Gordon shouldn’t be drafted as a WR2. As noted by others, Gordon’s efficiency was at its best with Brady and he was the best target for Brady, but he remains the No. 2 WR on the team behind Julian Edelman.

His upside makes Gordon a strong WR4 on a roster, but without a full offseason, Gordon shouldn’t be drafted with the expectation to be a weekly contributor.”

— Matt Wispe


“There’s nobody in the league with a wider range of outcomes than Gordon. If you’re playing in just one league, you should probably not draft him. With a high-risk player, my preferred approach is to limit exposure to him across leagues, rather than worrying about how late in a draft you’re willing to take him. In other words, don’t draft Gordon in every draft, but if 30 WRs are gone and you need one, feel free to take him–don’t miss out on the roller coaster because you were waiting for the double-digit rounds to steal him.

Gordon’s ceiling is probably nowhere near the elite target shares of the WR1s, but he was nevertheless very productive on the Patriots, despite walking in mid-season with a balky hamstring. Gordon played minimal snaps for his first two games, and then took over as the primary outside receiver, averaging 70.9 yards per game, which incidentally is what Julian Edelman averaged last year1. That’s solid WR2 yardage. The 2019 Patriots depth chart at WR looks deep-ish through the rosy glasses of the preseason, but if Edelman misses time, cue the skeleton-blasted-by-fire gif.”

— Devin McIntyre

Image Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Josh Gordon.

  1. 70.8 to be exact  (back)

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