Although Browns receiver Josh Gordon didn’t have the four years of service necessary to become an unrestricted free agent when his contract expires, he has the four years of service necessary to become a free agent when cut.
“He is a vested veteran,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells PFT. “His contract would be terminated, it is not subject to waivers.”
This means that, once the Browns release Gordon, he’ll be able to sign with any team he wants, for any contract he can negotiate.
That dynamic could make Gordon more attractive as a trade target, giving a team a chance to grab his contract (at a base rate of $790,000) instead of competing for his services on the open market, where in theory he could get more. Gordon’s status also gives the Browns an incentive to trade him; as a vested veteran who was on the Week One roster, Gordon is eligible to take the balance of his salary as termination pay.
So if the Browns can avoid terminating the contract, Gordon can’t get termination pay. That obligation would attach to his new team, if his new team decides to cut him.