Ten thoughts related to the Patriots’ corps of receivers — a position at which the team made 31 roster transactions involving 17 players between the start of free agency in mid-March and moving Josh Gordon to injured reserve late Wednesday afternoon…
1. The timing and circumstances of the decision on Gordon suggest there are non-football reasons at play, particularly when considering the disconnect between reports his knee was recovering nicely and the team shutting him down later that same day. But, purely from a football perspective, the Pats aren’t all that much worse without him, and they won’t really miss him unless injuries, multiple, deplete their depth to the point they’re simply searching for a body who can play in their system. When he arrived in New England at age 27 he was already a long way from the tantalizing freak whose talents made him an All-Pro at 22, and while Patriots fans kept clutching to the expectation that “Flash” would reemerge, the reality of 2019 is that Gordon didn’t look like much more than an average player with good size but a lack of speed or explosiveness. He caught a long ball against Pittsburgh, used that size to shrug off a tackle en route to the end zone, and made a pair of nice catches when Tom Brady started force feeding him in the second half of a blowout against the Jets.
Other than those four plays, which all came in the first three weeks, Gordon’s 32 targets this season netted 16 completions for 173 yards and no touchdowns. During his time in Foxborough he caught four of 12 targets in the red zone, and fewer than half the passes sent his way on third down. Yes, he’s a decent player — but don’t be fooled by the big name and the monster season he produced six long years ago. Cutting ties with the 2019 version of Josh Gordon isn’t anything close to a season-killer.