During the NFL Draft this past weekend, news broke that Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl receiver Josh Gordon could be facing up to a year-long suspension from the NFL for allegedly failing a third drug test, according to Sports Illustrated. The pending suspension has given the Browns a tough decision to make—what will they do with Gordon?
One option would be to trade Gordon, which is something the Browns are apparently considering.
Could the Denver Broncos be a potential trading partner?
On the surface, such an idea seems absurd, but it may not be out of the question. Gordon is entering the third year of his four-year rookie contract and is due base salaries of $825,604 in 2014 and $1,068,406 in 2015, per Spotrac.com.
The Broncos have the salary cap space to honor Gordon's current contract, but do they have room on the roster? That's debatable, but it should be noted that both Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas will be free agents in 2015. Thomas seems to be a lock to return, but at age 33, Welker may not be brought back for a third season in Denver.
If Gordon is suspeneded for all of 2014, he would not count against the active roster of the team paying him, either. So, Denver could pick up Gordon's two-year deal, sit on him in 2014 (if he is suspended) and then have him available entering 2015 with the contracts of Thomas and Welker set to expire.
Broncos 2014 draft class
The Denver Broncos drafted cornerback Bradley Roby with their first round draft pick, then made two trades to end up with wide receiver Cody Latimer, tackle Michael Schofield, linebacker Lamin Barrow, center Matt Paradis, and linebacker Corey Nelson.
In addition to Thomas and Welker, though, Denver also has Emmanuel Sanders, Andre "Bubba" Caldwell and second-round draft pick Cody Latimer already on the roster, in addition three other young receivers. That's a crowded receiving corps, but in the NFL, there's always room for improvement.
Imagine a 2015 Broncos receiving group of Thomas, Gordon, Sanders, and Latimer. I know, I know, this isn't Madden! But as G.M. John Elway loves to say, "We never say never."
One could argue that if the Broncos want Gordon, they should wait until his contract expires in two years and then sign him, saving the hassle of toting around a suspended player in 2014. Such a scenario, though, doesn't factor in that Gordon may be traded this offseason. If he is traded, his future team may extend his contract in 2015, and if they don't, he'll be much more costly two years from now than his current rookie salary.
If a team is going to make a move for Gordon, the time is now. If he can get a handle over his off-the-field troubles, Gordon's value will only increase over time as his potential is off the charts.
Gordon caught 87 passes in 2013 and led the NFL with 1,646 yards, scoring nine times. Since entering the league in 2012, Gordon has caught 137 passes for 2,451 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Gordon would fit in perfectly in a Peyton Manning-led offense. The Four Horsemen proved last season that there are enough passes to go around in Denver, even with an abundance of talent. Giving Peyton one more weapon to use would only make Denver's offense more dangerous.
It's a long shot to happen, but Denver should pull the trigger.