Recent talk surrounding the 49ers has linked them as one of the teams interested in the supremely talented but troubled Cleveland Browns wide out Josh Gordon.
Although Gordon's availability has been talked down by members of the Browns organization recently, there is no doubt they would move him for the right price.
Gordon was taken in the 2nd round of the supplemental draft by the Browns in 2012, after a troubled college career marked by multiple occasions of drug use, which eventually got him suspended indefinitely for a failed drug test during his junior year at Baylor.
The 49ers' biggest weakness is wide receiver, so Gordon is a sensible target for the team. However, don't be deceived by the apparent "perfect match" that Gordon and the 49ers could make. A trade for the troubled wide out is an unnecessary and risky transaction for the following reasons:
1) Off-the-field issues: The 49ers are currently dealing with Aldon Smith's off-field trouble, a situation that has him away from the team indefinitely. Adding yet another concerning character in Gordon is just asking for more drama. Not only are issues like these distracting in the locker room, but as we've seen with Roger Goodell's heavy hand the last few years, off-the-field run-ins with the law can quickly lead to absence on the field. Gordon just returned from a two-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy and one more hiccup will result in a much longer suspension. All the talent in the world means nothing if you can't get on the field.
2) Returning starters: Yes, the #2 wide out spot has been a disaster to this point, but we need to remember that the true starters alongside Boldin (Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham) are both inching closer to health. Manningham is set to begin practicing within the next week after recovering from two torn knee ligaments late last year, and Crabtree is on track with his rehab from a torn achilles tendon, with a return in mid-to-late November a real possibility. Kaepernick did fine with that duo last year, and now he has Boldin to go along with them, giving him three solid receivers.
3) Does Gordon even fit the offense?: Sure, Gordon can run fast and offer a deep threat that the Niners currently lack. But how often does San Francisco even call those type of routes? The offensive philosophy still revolves around Frank Gore and pounding the football, while balancing a passing game that emphasizes more short and intermediate routes. This brings up “the chicken or the egg” question. Do the Niners not take shots down field because they lack a legit deep threat, or because the offense doesn't call for those plays? It's a valid question, but adding Gordon mid-season to find out seems like an overreaction. Just look at Mike Wallace in Miami; great skills and speed, but he has been non-existent in half of the Dolphins' games because he just doesn't match their offensive philosophy. The same is possible with Gordon in San Francisco.
The 49ers front office has proven they have an excellent eye for balancing talent and character when making acquisitions, but trading for Gordon is just asking for trouble.Back to the San Francisco 49ers Newsfeed