In what will probably be the most shocking NFL news of the week, the Patriots and Josh Gordon will soon be parting ways. The team placed Gordon on the IR on Wednesday, and reports later emerged they planned to release the wideout once he's healthy. His time in New England is done.
Given how murky the situation is, it's impossible to know exactly when Gordon will hit the open market. The Patriots seem likely to wait until after next week's trade deadline; if they release him now, he'll be free to sign with whoever, but if they wait until this time next week, he'll enter the waiver wire process. There are a lot of teams who would be interested in Gordon's services should that situation occur, but these four teams in particular should be doing whatever they can to ensure they enjoy what Gordon has to offer this year.
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners did just add Emmanuel Sanders to their receiving room earlier this week, sending a third and a fourth-round pick for his services. But they can always use more help, especially since Gordon will be coming free of charge (outside of his salary, of course). Despite the addition of Sanders, Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't have many weapons at the position. Not including Sanders, Niners wideouts have combined for a total of 40 catches this season. George Kittle alone has 34. They need all the help they can get.
Gordon would complement Sanders well as a player who can be effective at all three levels of the field but is most effective as a field-stretcher. San Francisco is undefeated, but they haven't had a particularly difficult stretch of games, and still have both of their divisional games against the Seahawks yet to come, along with matchups against stingy defensive units in Green Bay and Baltimore. It sure seems like the Niners are in it to win it this year, and this would give them a big boost.
The Raiders have been surprisingly successful this season despite the circus that was their preseason. They sit at 3-3 and have found success amid a rash of injuries to skill positions, including receiver. Gordon would provide an immediate upgrade over Tyrell Williams as the No. 1 option for Derek Carr. Williams works best as a secondary option, so in the football sense of things, this is an ideal match and would elevate the Raiders' chances to nab a Wild Card spot.
Of course, in non-football sense, there may not be a worse destination for Gordon. The team is moving to Vegas next season, and I find it hard to imagine Gordon would want to place himself right smack in the middle of the City of Sin as he continues his rehabilitation. Still, if he believes in Jon Gruden, this could end up working out.
The Ravens have been rolling on offense for the majority of this season, first on the strength of Lamar Jackson's arm, then on the strength of his legs. Marquise Brown has shown out as a rookie, but has an injury history and already suffered an ankle injury this year. Behind him, there isn't much depth worth noting. The Ravens clearly believe they can compete for a title this year, and it's hard to argue with their results so far.
Gordon would give Baltimore another other-worldly athlete, as well as a big target for Jackson to just throw it up to. He would be a great complement to the pieces they already have and would give the offense the boost it needs for when the running game isn't getting the job done.
The Seahawks have been getting it done up in Seattle despite a pretty thin receiving chart that relies a lot upon guys like Jaron Brown, who has never caught more than 31 balls in a season. Tyler Lockett is an ideal target for Russell Wilson but is a completely different type of receiver than Gordon. Like most rookies, D.K. Metcalf is hit-or-miss on a week-to-week basis.
Enter Gordon. He'd be Wilson's best receiver ever in terms of sheer talent, and would give them a different kind of big-play threat than what Lockett provides. The Seahawks will likely need more offensive firepower if they can't get their run game going on a consistent basis, and Gordon would provide just that. They're in the toughest division in football, and every advantage matters.