Z Files: Browns should stick with Gordon

Z Files: Browns should stick with Gordon

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - "What would it take to put you in this uniform, Josh?". Or, better yet, "what would it take to keep you in this uniform?". An obvious spin off his brief days as a used car salesman back in 2014 (during which he reportedly sold about a dozen cars, giving him about a dozen more car sales than touchdowns for the year), and the obvious question that'll roll through Hue Jackson's mind if Gordon gets reinstated by the NFL. The talented but troubled receiver has asked the league for another chance, and the answer to the above question is a long one, including ongoing drug testing and 12-step programs, but also including a far more focused effort than he gave the Browns the last time around.

You remember 2014, when Gordon was suspended yet again for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He missed 10 games, but returned with a bang, catching eight passes for 120 yards against the Falcons in his first game back. Then he went off the rails again, showing a lack of effort at times, and a lack of urgency at others, including missing the walk-through prior to the final game of the season. Gordon was benched again, limiting him to just five games that season, which pushed back his contract, and eventual free-agency, another year.

Which brings me to the point: the Browns should give Gordon another shot if he's reinstated. If in fact he has remained clean (and this is where he apparently and hopefully differs from suspended Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon, who continues to rack up DUI's and put a dagger in his career), it costs the Browns almost nothing to stick with him. Gordon will pull down $1.1 million if he's with the Browns next season (to put that in perspective, that's 1/9th of Dwayne Bowe's guaranteed deal), and after 2016, becomes a restricted free agent. If he's staying clean off the field, and fulfilling his potential on it, the Browns score big. If not, they can cut him loose. It would be Gordon's final shot at an NFL career. Jackson's smart enough to know that they can't count on Gordon, so other tall, talented receivers, please still apply. But...if Hue's message and leadership can finally keep Gordon on the right path, the Browns will have their 2013 game-changing receiver back.

About a year ago, after Gordon's latest suspension, I asked one of his teammates if the Browns should just cut him loose. His answer? "Hell, yes". I agreed at the time. But I also know the Browns have little to lose at this point. Gordon cannot say the same.

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