The future of Josh Gordon will be known in a few days.
No team will acquire Gordon without making sure he gets through the Cleveland Browns' game in Kansas City healthy. The trade deadline is two days later. The Browns have said that they don’t see themselves trading Gordon. But amid constant rumors and reports that the Browns are being called, the clear implication is that they are listening.
It’s a bit of an odd situation. Gordon is constantly being asked about reports of rumors even though the team itself has made it clear they aren’t interested in trading him.
Nobody is saying the Browns are calling around trying to trade Gordon. Every report says they are being approached.
But the reports are there. And they are constant. Gordon showed the strain of the constant rumors this week when he said he wished if he was going to be traded that it would just happen. And offensive coordinator Norv Turner admitted the rumors could affect Gordon.
“I would hope not, but I’m realistic enough to know that yeah, it does,” Turner said.
Gordon is an immensely gifted receiver. He’s big, strong and fast. He has good hands and runs like a gazelle. He needs to grow, to play hard on every play -- Turner said Gordon is making good progress.
“I watch all this tape of other guys and they don't catch every ball and when it's a contested ball they don't jump over everybody every time,” Turner said.
Gordon’s future depends on whether he becomes a professional or a diva. At this point he could be seen on either path.
Gordon presents himself extremely well and speaks candidly to the media. But he’s also slipped twice in the NFL’s drug program and is one more misstep from a one-year suspension.
Which is the great complicating factor in Gordon’s future. Without this one-year issue, the Browns would make Gordon a key part of their future. With it, he’s a player drafted by the previous regime with baggage.
The Browns' situation is interesting. The coaching staff wants to win -- as all do -- but the front office wants to build something sustain -- wait for it -- able. Sustainable.
As has happened so often with the Browns since 1999, the front office in place finds little to like about the decisions of their predecessors. A year ago Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden were cornerstone first-round picks. Richardson has been traded for a future first-round pick that looks like it will be in the 20s, and Weeden’s future clearly is elsewhere.
Gordon was a second-round supplemental pick, and the opinions on him leading up to that supplemental draft were as varied then as they are now. The one difference now is that teams have seen a glimpse of what Gordon can do.
The talent is the lure. And no NFL team lacks the arrogance to believe it can keep Gordon on the straight-and-narrow, no matter the fact he failed three tests and went to two schools in college and now has two strikes in the NFL.
What can the Browns get for Gordon?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported three teams have offers of a player and draft pick on the table. Details on the pick are not available, but if it’s not a second-round pick the Browns would be foolish to pay attention -- which evidently they are not.
A first-round pick … now that’s another story.
But what team is desperate enough to give up a first-round pick for a guy one step from a year’s suspension?
At least Gordon knows it will all be over, one way or another, in a few days.