The Browns might have obviously preferred trading Josh Gordon out of their conference (so he doesn’t impact their playoff run), and the 49ers were initially interested in a deal for the talented-but-high-maintenance wide receiver.
But 49ers General Manager John Lynch said during a radio interview on KNBR that they ultimately decided Gordon would have been more trouble than he was worth.
“I think in that situation, like any situation, if there’s a chance to improve your team, you always look into it,” Lynch said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But in certain situations, particularly when you have knowledge of a player, you sit back and you weigh it. Sometimes it’s intriguing. But then, . . . particularly when you have knowledge of someone, the more you look into it: You know what — we’re going to stay away from that.”
The 49ers have some background on Gordon, since coach Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland in 2014. Also, 49ers special team coordinator Richard Hightower and assistants Mike McDaniel and Jeff Hafley were on that staff. That was the season in which Gordon was suspended 10 games and had a DUI arrest, and was suspended for another game later in the season for missing a practice.
“They were with him in Cleveland, and so they knew the player very well,” Lynch said. “Obviously, [he’s] an unbelievable talent. Obviously, had a lot of issues. So you try to weigh that, and you kind of have to say, ‘OK, what’s it worth, number one? Number two, is it something . . . we’ve got a really good thing in our building in terms of the guys and the type of guys we’ve got in here. And do you want to mess with that? . . .
“I understand that people get frustrated and sometimes feel like, ‘Why aren’t we getting every player that’s out there?’ But when you look at what we’ve done in two years in terms of just completely overturning the roster, we’ve been very active. And I can promise everybody out there that any chance we can have to improve our team, we’ll look into it.”
And the longer they looked, the less interested they became.