Addition of Josh Gordon would give Browns Baylor-heavy offense

Updated: July 27, 2016
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Since leading the NFL in receiving yards in 2013, while playing in only 14 games, I might add, Josh Gordon has faced difficulties staying on the football field. He’s been suspended for a total of 28 games over the past three seasons, all for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Nevertheless, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has given him another chance.

He was reinstated on Monday, and will be eligible to suit up for the Cleveland Browns once he serves a four-game suspension. He will, however, have the ability to play in the preseason and attend training camp with his teammates — unlike others, like Tom Brady, who is in the midst of a similar suspension. But coincidentally, the first time either of them will be able to play in the regular season is Oct. 9, as the Browns will host the New England Patriots in Week 5.

Gordon, who’s 6-foot-3, was the Browns’ most explosive offensive weapon when on the field. And even though he was catching passes from guys like Brandon Weeden, Thad Lewis, Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer — not the sexiest list of quarterbacks — he still managed to become one of the most prolific pass-catchers in the NFL, which speaks to his talent level.

The Browns now have a new quarterback on the roster, in former offensive rookie of the year Robert Griffin III. If Gordon turns out to be the player he once was, he gives Griffin and the Browns’ offense one of the more elite receiving targets in the game. He’d be paired with Cleveland’s first-round draft pick, Corey Coleman, to construct a duo of former Baylor Bears. And Griffin himself, also attended Baylor — where he was the Heisman Trophy winner in 2011. This would give Browns new head coach Hue Jackson a plethora of playmakers to work with on offense. With Gary Barnidge, who ranked in the top five among tight ends in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last season, Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins rounding out the receiving corps, the Browns’ offense doesn’t look too shabby — at least on paper.

Cleveland also took five — I repeat, five (!) — wide receivers in this year’s draft, and may be able to find one or two, outside of Coleman, who can emerge as a valuable option.

Of course, the quarterback position will play a monumental role in how well the offense performs. But Jackson has a history of working with quarterbacks, and could be exactly what the doctor ordered for Griffin to get back to his 2012 ways. Griffin hasn’t officially been named the starter quite yet, but it seems to be his job to lose. I mean, does Jackson really plan to start his coaching campaign in Cleveland with Josh McCown as his starter? I doubt it.

Griffin, who’s only 26 years old, has a chance to build chemistry with his fellow Baylor teammates, Gordon (25) and Coleman (22), to form a potential Big 3 — to use an NBA analogy. This is undoubtedly easier said than done, but the possibilities aren’t too far fetched.

Gordon is currently dealing with a quad injury, which will keep him sidelined for a few weeks. But when healthy, and if he remains clear of any further suspensions, the Browns actually have a bright future to look forward to. Well, at least brighter than what they’ve seen in the past decade or so.



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