First and foremost, the reason to keep Josh Gordon; through at least 2016, is his contract. With his  “banishment” in the 2015 season, his contract now ends after the 2016 season, at which point he is still a restricted free agent. Getting rid of him now or before the end of the 2016 season seems like a bad plan because we would get nothing in return. Keeping him doesn’t hurt the team at all, while dropping him could be potentially harmful to both the team and Gordon.

Secondly, it gives both sides time to re-evaluate what they want from each other. On the Browns side, they have time to evaluate their core at receiver twice before they have to deal with Gordon coming back. If we can add a great WR1 either this offseason or next, the Browns may decide they don’t need to deal with Gordon anymore. As far as Gordon goes, he has a chance to completely re-evaluate what is important in his life. If he can’t play for an entire season, it could be the chance he needs to sit down and look at everything that has gotten him to this point.

Third, the Browns would have a chance in the 2016 season to see if Gordon is who they need. Looking at his 2014 season, it’s easy to become discouraged. In his first game back he went for over 100 yards receiving, but seemed disinterested and annoyed in the final 4 games he played. It’s hard to tell for sure though if he was just going through a slump or if he just didn’t want to be there. However, if he can stay in game shape and not get in trouble through the 2015 season, and looks like his old self in 2016, the Browns then have a choice. The fact is, if he shows he can still play at a high level, he would definitely have trade value. If the Browns seem to have figured things out on offense, they could decide to let Gordon try his luck elsewhere.

Finally, the fact is that plenty of NFL stars have had issues like Gordon, and yet still lead productive NFL careers. At the top of that list are two players who had great seasons in Dez Bryant and Marshawn Lynch. Lynch has been charged with a hit & run, DUI, and had a drug charge for marijuana between 2008 and 2012, and yet he will be playing in his second consecutive Super Bowl this sunday. Dez Bryant has also had a tumultuous time since coming to the NFL. His history is well-documented since coming to the league in 2010, with numerous allegations of a variety of things, including domestic abuse. However, the Cowboys decided that they wanted to help him get his demons under control and Bryant has been great the past two seasons.

Dez Bryant is a great example of what happens when both sides, the team and the player, are dedicated to making things work. The Cowboys provided Bryant with a list of things he wasn’t allowed to engage in, and had him hire a security team who would have at least one person with him around the clock. Bryant, to his credit, took on this responsibility and has become one of the best receivers in the NFL. Ultimately, it comes down to both sides wanting to work together. If Gordon can convince the Browns that he is willing to make changes similar to Bryant’s, they should do everything they can to help him get his affairs in order. Based on his letter on The Cauldron, he seems to want to make those changes, so I believe that the Browns should give him a final chance to see if both sides can make things work.

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