Would the Denver Broncos consider adding Josh Gordon?

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: Josh Gordon #10 of the New England Patriots enters the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on September 29, 2019 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: Josh Gordon #10 of the New England Patriots enters the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on September 29, 2019 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos just traded Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers. Would they consider adding Josh Gordon when the Patriots waive him?

The Denver Broncos are moving on from the Emmanuel Sanders era and giving their young players an opportunity to step up in short order.

Players like DaeSean Hamilton, Fred Brown, Diontae Spencer, and rookie Juwann Winfree will have a chance now to step into new (bigger) roles with the team and prove they can be part of the core of this offensive squad moving forward.

But the Broncos are far from settled at receiver.

Outside of Courtland Sutton, who is looking like a true WR1 in his second season in the NFL, the Broncos’ wide receiver group has been a disappointment.

DaeSean Hamilton’s dropped touchdown in week one sort of set the tone for what has been a slow-going, inconsistent year two for the former Penn State star.

None of Brown, Spencer, or Winfree has proven in regular-season action that they can be counted on as consistent targets in the passing game. The Broncos will get Tim Patrick back after the bye week, so they are obviously hoping he can be their WR2 or WR3 with Hamilton hopefully stepping up and Sutton proving he can excel without Sanders on the field to draw attention away from him.

Although the Broncos are more likely to just stick with their current group at receiver and let the chips fall as they may, I’m not opposed to the idea of adding Josh Gordon, who is set to become available when the Patriots waive him off injured reserve next week.

Gordon has not exactly been a model of consistency in the NFL when it comes to his injuries and off-field history, but he’s an incredible talent who has had success in recent years despite the fact that he missed all but 10 games between 2014-2017.

There’s no doubt about the fact that Gordon is an asset to a team when he’s healthy, but the Patriots are activated their own first-round pick N’Keal Harry off injured reserve and they just traded for Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who is healthy and ready to contribute right now.

Over the past 17 games with the Patriots, Gordon has caught 60 passes with 1,007 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 16.8 yards per reception. This season, he’s averaging 14.4 yards per catch (20 receptions, 287 yards in six games).

It’s worth wondering why the Patriots are willing to let him go in the first place, but Gordon could help the Broncos in more ways than one so it’s a move that’s worth considering.

1. He can produce on his own

Gordon is a pretty complete receiver from a skill perspective with speed to burn, a big catch radius, after the catch abilities, and the ability to win at the catch point. He’s a play creator and doesn’t require complicated route concepts to get open.

2. He can take attention off of Courtland Sutton

The Broncos would not have to bring in Gordon as a WR1 by any means. He would certainly be brought in with the intent of helping the offense produce, but he would also help when he’s not getting the ball by keeping defenses honest and not allowing them to double-team Sutton.

3. He’s cheap

Gordon’s contract is pennies on the dollar for a receiver of his caliber, and there’s no risk involved from that vantage point. If he’s claimed right after the trade deadline, he would cost some team just over $1 million this season, and he is a free agent after this season.

4. He’s still relatively young

Although Gordon’s complicated history with the NFL has made it feel like he’s been in and out of the league for the last 10 years, the guy is still just 28 years old. There’s still time and upside here to think about auditioning this guy for a job beyond just 2019 for some team.

I have always liked Josh Gordon’s game, and I think he’s still capable of playing at a very high level. We saw it in 11 games last season for the Patriots when he helped the team go 8-3 with a few huge games along the way.

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It’s not like the Broncos have to get this guy when he becomes available in order to save their season, but I also don’t hate the idea and could see reasons why it would make sense.