The Josh Gordon trade terms have still not been formally announced by either the Browns or the Patriots, but we’re starting to get some clarity on what the Patriots gave up. And it wasn’t much.
Cleveland sent Gordon and a seventh-round draft pick to the Patriots for a fifth-round draft pick. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the seventh-round pick is not conditional, contrary to some reports.
The Browns don’t have their own seventh-round pick next year because they sent it to Miami in the Jarvis Landry trade, but the Browns have acquired both the Jaguars’ and Steelers’ seventh-round picks, so New England will apparently get one of those. The Patriots’ fifth-round pick is their own.
That the conditions were taken off the seventh-round pick would seem to suggest that the Patriots insisted on removing that language, and the Browns gave in. This means the Patriots are giving up very little for Gordon, effectively draft capital equivalent to a sixth-round draft pick.
So for the Patriots, this is a low-risk, high-reward deal. If Gordon can’t get his act together, they can cut him and they’re out nothing more than having to move down on the third day of the draft. If Gordon can play at the high level he did in 2013, they’ve just added one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL to their roster. It’s easy to see why the Patriots liked this deal. And given that this was the best deal the Browns could get, it’s apparent that the rest of the league doesn’t think Gordon is worth the trouble.