This year’s crop of free-agent receivers lacks significant star power, especially if Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins are tagged by the Jaguars and Rams, respectively. (The Dolphins already have franchise-tagged Jarvis Landry.) One of the most talented receivers in the league will not be part of it.
The NFL Players Association initially told PFT on Wednesday that Browns receiver Josh Gordon will be a restricted free agent. This would mean that he finally has completed his rookie contract, but that he doesn’t yet have four years of service under the NFL’s labor deal.
But since Gordon played in only five games last year, he did not do enough gain a third accrued season toward free agency. That would make him an exclusive rights free agent. The NFLPA has clarified Gordon’s status, explaining that he did not pick up a third accrued season.
Because he’s an exclusive rights free agent, Gordon will not be a free agent at all. The Browns will be able to offer him the second-year minimum for a player with two years of service, and his choice will be to sign it or not play.
Gordon arrived in Cleveland in 2012 as a second-round pick in the supplemental draft. In 2013, he generated 1,646 receiving yards in only 14 games. That’s more than new Hall of Famers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens ever had in any one season.
But Gordon, who didn’t play at all in 2015 or 2016 due to his latest suspension under the substance-abuse policy, remains at risk for another banishment from the league.