49ers backed away from initial interest in Josh Gordon

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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.

16 responses to “49ers backed away from initial interest in Josh Gordon

  1. To me that’s nonsense they only gave up a 5th round pick for him. Why not take a chance if it doesnt work out cut him.

  2. jigwig13 says:
    September 21, 2018 at 7:28 am
    To me that’s nonsense they only gave up a 5th round pick for him. Why not take a chance if it doesnt work out cut him.


    He answered that question, because it’s not worth disrupting the chemistry and culture they’ve created with the people they currently have in the building. I’m the biggest Josh Gordon apologist there is, but this explanation makes sense. He has 3 coaches who’ve worked with Gordon directly, and if they are hesitant to shake up the culture that’s been created then I’m good with Lynch’s explanation that the risk is larger than Gordon just flaming out, it’s risking the entire locker room they’ve created if they have to treat Gordon any differently.

  3. They must have thought that Cleveland was going for trade value ( 2nd or 3rd round pick?)

    either way a Patriots probably felt the same way and used a 5th round pick and if Gordon doesn’t work out or play in at least 10 games, Patriots get a 6th or 7th rounder back. Can you really lose at that point?

  4. These are professionals. I don’t believe it would be “risking the entire locker room.” In every locker room, in every professional sport, there are players that don’t care for one another. The glue that keeps it together is the focus on the prize. If you want to win, you do the job. Should you become a distraction, you’ll be shown the door. The 9ers are disciplined and talented. They would be just fine with or without Gordon. It’ll be interesting to see how he impacts the Patriots.

  5. As a Pats fan, I’m really happy they rolled the dice…. they gave up a 5th & got a 7th back & Josh…..
    All that said, I must be honest & say that I’ll be shocked if it works out…. I hope he proves me wrong but I just don’t believe a guy with so many personal demons can all of a sudden become a sustained example of stability unless HE wants to do so….. I guess time will tell on this one….
    My hopes are sky high it works out however my rational side just can’t by into based on past proven knowledge on the individual……. FINGERS CROSSED!!!!
    Go Pats & GOOD LUCK JOSH!!!!!

  6. The Browns playoff run? Really? They just broke a nineteen game losing streak and they’re talking playoffs? They must be smoking the same stuff Josh Gordon is.

  7. Pats also have a VERY different culture which sometimes works with rehabbing troubled guys – Corey Dillon’s a good example. Belichick never pushes under buses nor goes all-Oprah about them, period (see the initial press conference!). But they have to buy into it – and have to shut up (even Marty Bennett shut up while a Patriot).

    When Pats took on Floyd they housed him in-stadium & fed him (to help him avoid drink or driving). However, he and Cards weren’t honest about how extreme the DUI was. Pats only got the true BAC figure at trial. Anyway, Gordon only cost a 5th, and if it doesn’t work it only really costs a 6th (i.e. a 5th but get a 7th back). Low risk, high reward, for a team short on WRs.

  8. joetoronto says:
    September 21, 2018 at 7:29 am
    The Santa Clara’s don’t need any help, they have “The great Jimmy G”!
    The Raiders haven’t won a game, your qb is suspect, you traded away your best player, who’s lighting it up, you have the worst stadium in the league, you can’t even stay at a stadium without moving, and you paid your coach for 10 years. I’m not a Raiders hater, but I feel bad for other Raiders fans that you root for them. You’re horrible at trolling. Whats your record again?

  9. Building the right team chemistry is a good explanation for both why the 49ers passed on Gordon and why the Patriots did not. Not Pats fan, but they have a great culture, and Gordon will either adapt to it or he’ll be gone very quickly.

  10. oetoronto says:

    September 21, 2018 at 7:29 am

    The Santa Clara’s don’t need any help, they have “The great Jimmy G”!


    And you have the 0-2 Jon Gruden : (

  11. “The Browns playoff run? Really? They just broke a nineteen game losing streak and they’re talking playoffs?”

    It was tongue in cheek humor by the writer, not anything the Browns were saying SMH

  12. One thing the Raiders (1970s-80s) and New England (under Belichick) in common is that they will give players with personal problems a second chance. Sometimes it pays off, with players like “bad boy” John Matsuzak helping them win a Super Bowl.

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