Browns are moving on from Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon Cleveland Browns
Scott Sargent/WFNY

Six days after bizarrely starting the Week 1 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers despite head coach Hue Jackson claiming he would not, the much-maligned wide receiver Josh Gordon has been informed that he will be released and subject to waivers on Monday. The news of his release was announced Saturday evening, prior to Sunday’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

Monday’s release will end the tumultuous relationship between the mercurial wide receiver and the Cleveland Browns. The jointure has seen more downs (Gordon being suspended for the 2015-2016 seasons) than ups (that magical 2013 that saw Gordon catch 87 passes and 1,646 yards.), but hope sprang eternal for Cleveland fans all around.

The details of “why” and “why now” are sketchy, and a timeline of incidences might be helpful to gather all pertinent information:

  1. Gordon was healthy for and during Friday’s practice, usually when teams start to make final decisions on roster counts for Sunday’s matchups.
  2. According to multiple sources, Gordon came in late to team facilities Saturday, suffering from a hamstring injury sustained during a promotional shoot per Adam Schefter.
  3. The injury, in accordance with the tardiness, was seemingly enough to indicate to the Browns brass that cutting Gordon was the right decision. Factoring the off-the-field concerns into what was possibly going to be a diminished product due to the time away from the field and an inability to remain healthy undoubtedly played a part in the decision. However, suggesting as such is simply hearsay.
  4. Indicating the release of Gordon will not take place until Monday, the Browns have been fielding trade calls for the services of the wide receiver. Getting something back for a wide receiver many consider to still be in the top-ten in regards to talent despite his obvious character issues off the field would definitely be more advantageous than simply releasing him.
  5. Gordon is designated as a “vested vet” meaning he is not subject to waivers. Upon his release, he would be allowed to sign with whichever team he wants.

So what now? Whatever the Browns are able to recoup in assets for Gordon, player or pick, will obviously not be game-ready for the game against the Saints. Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins, and Damion Ratley will be the wide receivers available. Judging from the unofficial depth chart released earlier in the week, rookie wideout Callaway should see his first official start, regardless of the play call and position grouping.1 The upside of that grouping is much lower without Gordon, to no surprise, and any predictions of productions come with many major red flags.

As for Gordon, the future is murkier. Gordon has been on thin ice with the league due to his multiple suspensions. If he were to relapse, and no one here at WFNY is saying or indicating that is the situation, he could be suspended for life. Whether or not he is released or traded, the only certainty is that the chances, and there have been many of them, have run out in Cleveland.

  1. Looking at you, Todd Haley. []