In mid-September 2018, the New England Patriots acquired troubled but immensely talented wide receiver Josh Gordon via trade from the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots, sitting at a 1-1 record at the time, sent a fifth-round draft pick to Cleveland in order to acquire Gordon as well as a conditional seventh-round selection. Conditions for that late-round pick were never specified — but it did not matter.
As first reported by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, the conditions of the pick have since been lifted: New England will get a seventh-round pick out of the transaction. As a result, the Patriots effectively dropped from the 32nd selection of round five to the 29th — the Browns acquired the pick from the San Francisco 49ers, who themselves got it from the Kansas City Chiefs — of the draft’s final round in order to get Gordon on board.
Dropping circa 60 late-round spots to get the 27-year old wide receiver can be seen as a solid investment on the Patriots’ part, even though he appeared in only 11 games for the team. Before getting indefinitely suspended for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the NFL’s drug policy, Gordon established himself as one of the team’s top-two at the wide receiver position: he played 71.2% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps and caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns.
At this point in time, New England still holds Gordon’s rights and the wide receiver could reportedly start the process of reinstatement into the league as early as May. Of course, it all depends on his personal situation — one that is more important than any potential on-field implications of a return: before his suspension was announced, Gordon had already left the team to focus on his mental health and substance abuse problems.
With the seventh-round pick returning to New England as part of the trade to acquire Gordon, the Patriots are now projected to hold the following capital heading into the draft:
1st round (#32)
2nd round (#56; via Chicago Bears)
2nd round (#64)
3rd round (#74; via Detroit Lions)
3rd round (compensatory)
3rd round (compensatory)
5th round (compensatory)
7th round (via Philadelphia Eagles)
7th round (via Cleveland Browns)
7th round (compensatory)
The four compensatory selections are the maximum awarded by the league for lost free agents last year, but have not yet been confirmed by the NFL. The projection is made in accordance to calculations done by OverTheCap.com.