When Did the Patriots Decide to Move On From Josh Gordon?

Liam McKeone
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills / Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The Patriots traded a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday, the high price became understandable, as the news broke that Josh Gordon would be placed on the Injured Reserve. This was an unexpected move; while Gordon had been banged up in recent weeks, there was no indication that he was dealing with anything that could endanger his entire season.

The situation then devolved into something much less straightforward than the above paragraph. First came a tweet from Mike Garafolo (and backed up by Albert Breer) that Gordon feels like he's close to returning to full health and will potentially sign with another team... wait, what?

As it turns out, this was news to Gordon too, who thought he could be healthy enough to play against the Browns on Sunday, according to Mike Girardi. Gordon expressed his confusion and surprise in a succinct Instagram comment.

Then came an avalanche of tweets, led by Ian Rapoport, about Gordon's career with New England being over.

My question: When exactly did THIS happen? There have been no rumblings of discontent or potential off-field issues. He was caught on camera smiling and hanging out with Sanu earlier this morning. He fills a crucial role in this offense as a deep threat that no other wide receiver can fill. But the Patriots, just like that, place him on IR and plan to dump him soon afterwards

This is all quite puzzling. If the Patriots didn't want Gordon anymore, it stands to reason that they'd try to find a trade partner for him. Failing that, they'd just cut him, instead of putting him on IR and later releasing him. The way this situation has unfolded, and Gordon's evident confusion, seems to indicate there's something else going on in the depths of Foxboro that caused the Patriots to decide to move on from their most talented wide receiver so quickly.