Josh Gordon’s issues obviously are bigger than football, but there’s no denying the wide receiver’s departure hurts the New England Patriots.
Gordon, who announced Thursday he was stepping away to focus on his mental health, has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league’s substance abuse policy. His exit leaves New England’s receiving corps a bit thin ahead of the Patriots’ Week 16 matchup with the Buffalo Bills and creates questions as to whether Bill Belichick has done enough in recent months to bolster his team’s roster.
Just ask NBC Sports’ Peter King.
“To count on Josh Gordon … is extremely naive,” King said Thursday on WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe,” as transcribed by WEEI.com.
“This all goes back to the fact that Bill Belichick and the Patriots didn’t do enough in the offseason to help their skill positions,” he added. “They didn’t devote enough resources to going out and getting a wide receiver.”
The Patriots are left with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson and Matthew Slater on their wide receiver depth chart with two games remaining in the regular season. King described the situation as a “matter of urgency” for New England, which currently owns the No. 3 seed in the AFC and might need to play on Wild Card Weekend for the first time since 2009.
King was vocal in citing the risks associated with Gordon when the Patriots acquired him in a trade with the Cleveland Browns back in September. The 27-year-old receiver appeared in just 41 games with the Browns over six-plus seasons, including only 10 from 2014 to 2017, thanks to several substance abuse suspensions, and there simply was no telling whether he’d slip up in New England.
“Never in a million years would I bring him onto my team,” King said Thursday, per WEEI.com.
“I would love to see a redemption story on Josh Gordon,” he added. “But again, I don’t how you’d bring him onto your team, unless he finds religion and fixes his life.”
Gordon totaled 40 catches for a team-high 720 yards with three touchdowns in 11 games with the Patriots. He gave quarterback Tom Brady a solid vertical threat the team now lacks.
The Patriots enter this Sunday’s showdown with the Bills having lost back-to-back games against the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers, dropping their record to 9-5. Now, they might need to search for receiving help with the NFL playoffs fast approaching.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images