On September 17, 2018, the New England Patriots acquired veteran wide receiver Josh Gordon via trade: the club sent a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft to the Cleveland Browns for Gordon and a seventh-round selection. A lot has happened — for both the clubs involved in the transaction the player himself — in the seven months since the move was made; a move from which we now know the final results.
Let’s check them out.
The draft pick New England traded to the Browns turned into the final pre-compensatory selection of the fifth round, courtesy of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl last season. Numerically speaking, Gordon’s ex-team received the 170th overall pick and it invested it in special teams:
K/P Austin Seibert
The second of two place kickers drafted, Seibert is coming off a solid career at Oklahoma. Last season, he made 17 of 19 field goal attempts (89.5%) — with the longest being from just 42 yards out, however — and was successful on all but one of his extra point tries (87 of 88; 98.9%). Furthermore, he also served as a punter for the Sooner and averaged a net distance per kick of 40.9 yards.
New England gets
The Patriots received two assets in the trade with the Browns from last September: Gordon, as well as a seventh-round draft choice that would ultimately turn out to be pick number 243. New England did not keep the selection, however, and instead packaged it with 4-134 to acquire two fifth-round selections: the 162nd and the 167th overall pick. The Patriots picked two players at those spots, bringing the final tally for their side of the trade to three acquisitions:
WR Josh Gordon
DL Byron Cowart
P Jake Bailey
Gordon, of course, had a successful first year in New England before it suddenly came to an end due to a suspension for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the NFL’s drug policy. Before getting suspended, however, Gordon played a key role for the Patriots offense: appearing in eleven games, he was on the field for 71.2% of the team’s offensive snaps and caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns.
Byron Cowart and Jake Bailey were only indirectly acquired through the draft pick that came to Foxboro because of the trade, but they need to be included in the final tally nevertheless. Former five-star recruit Cowart is coming off a mostly mediocre college career, but has plenty of upside. Bailey, meanwhile, will enter a competition with incumbent Ryan Allen to win New England’s punter spot.
Speaking of winning: with three of the players either directly or indirectly acquired as a result of the trade yet to take a snap for their respective teams, it is hard to assess the move properly. However, Gordon did play a substantial role in New England last year and helped the team to a first-round playoff bye. Furthermore, he is expected to return to the team whenever his indefinite suspension gets overturned.
From this point of view, it is therefore not hard to pick the Patriots as the victorious party as the trade stands right now. But no matter how this evaluation gets impacted over the next few weeks, months and years, the trade itself and its breakdown once again illustrate — like the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, that colleague Pat Lane analyzed yesterday — how Bill Belichick and company are able to turn one move into multiple commodities.