On Thursday, the often-troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon was given his release by the New England Patriots, according to a report by Boston radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub, which cited ESPN reporter Adam Schefter. Gordon’s release comes just two weeks after being “mysteriously” placed on injured reserve by the defending Super Bowl champions.
Gordon now becomes a free agent who may sign with any team — at least in theory. However, since the 28-year-old will not be an unrestricted free agent, his choices may be limited by the NFL waiver wire. In other words, each team in the league — proceeding in reverse order of their ranking in the current standings — will have a chance to “claim” Gordon.
The Miami Dolphins now sit last in the NFL with an 0-7 record. In the NFL rankings, that record currently places them behind the 0-8 Cincinnati Bengals at the bottom of the league’s 32-team overall table, according to NFL.com.
By placing him on injured reserve — despite the fact that Gordon’s knee injury was considered minor — the Patriots locked themselves into releasing him as soon as he received medical clearance to play. Gordon is now looking for a “good, supportive situation,” according to Schefter.
Whether the Dolphins would fit that description for Gordon is another matter. The team has been accused of “tanking” the 2019 season, supposedly attempting to rebuild by acquiring high draft picks, according to Sports Illustrated.
The Patriots rank at the top of the NFL standings at 8-0. According to the Sports Hub report, New England Coach Bill Belichick has already made up his mind to jettison Gordon. Even if the receiver makes it all the way through the waiver wire without a claim, the Patriots are unlikely to want him back.
Moreover, if another team claims Gordon off of waivers, the Patriots will immediately shave about $1 million off their current salary cap number, according to the Sports Hub report.
Gordon has been plagued by substance abuse issues throughout his career, having missed both the 2015 and 2016 seasons while under suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policies. At the moment, Gordon appears to have cleaned up. Nonetheless, he was underperforming this season, with just 20 receptions for 287 yards in his six games.
Earlier in September, Gordon scored the Patriots’ first touchdown of the season in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Gordon had not caught a TD pass from New England’s future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady since that game.
On October 17, when the receiver went down with a knee injury against the New York Giants, Belichick appeared to decide that Gordon had outlived his usefulness to the six-time Super Bowl champions.