He might be suspended, but the Patriots are not giving up on Josh Gordon just yet. In fact, Gordon remains part of the Patriots for the 2019 season according to a report from Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, as the team placed a second-round tender on Gordon.

This is a pretty surprising move considering Gordon’s status with the NFL. Early in October of last year, there were rumblings about Gordon missing time as a result of breaking a rule and then in December, with the Patriots trying to make a Super Bowl push, Gordon stepped away to focus on his mental health. He was suspended by the NFL indefinitely and remains suspended, although he was scheduled to be a restricted free agent. 

Gordon took to Instagram shortly after the news broke to thank the Patriots for placing the tender on him for next year. The $2 million he would earn on this deal would be more than twice as much as he received from the Patriots and Browns in 2018.

For the Patriots, this tender likely secures Gordon’s services for 2019, should be be reinstated by Roger Goodell at any point this offseason. And presumably it means they believe he could/should/will come back, but it also is a very low-risk situation for the Patriots. There’s no guaranteed money involved here unless Gordon were to actually get reinstated by the NFL. 

If another team signed Gordon, the Patriots would receive a second-round pick in exchange from that team. It is extremely unlikely that another team signs Gordon because of his suspension and because of his off-field issues. 

Gordon had been praised by no less than Tom Brady for how “reliable” he was for the Patriots on the field during the 2018 season and many believed he would be a key factor in the Patriots’ playoff push. They’d win the Super Bowl anyway, but not without everyone counting them out first.

The Patriots first landed Gordon in a deal with the Browns after Cleveland finally decided to purge themselves of Gordon before the traded deadline last year. Gordon reportedly got injured at a promotional shoot and showed up late to the team’s facility shortly before the trade went down. He had previously stepped away from his team while with the Browns during training camp.

Gordon once boasted that he believes he can be the greatest wideout of all time, but he did not play in an NFL game for 2015, 2016 and much of 2017 before returning. He said he would either be drunk or high for most of the games he did play, which makes him leading the league in receiving yards all the more remarkable. 

The oft-troubled wideout was suspended for 10 games in 2014 by the NFL and later suspended for Week 17 of the 2014 season by the Browns. 

Late in 2017 he was reinstated by the NFL, after having his reinstatement request denied in May. He would play in five games, catching 18 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown, flashing his incredible physical ability and tantalizing Browns fans once again. Gordon famously led the NFL in receiving yards (1,646) in 2013 despite playing in just 14 games.

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