The Cleveland Browns have been the center of attention since drafting Johnny Manziel in the 2014 NFL Draft, and for the most part that’s been a bad thing. Star wide receiver Josh Gordon has contributed many of the negative headlines, and unfortunately for Cleveland, the maligned receiver has made headlines yet again. Adam Schefter has reported that Gordon failed an alcohol test and faces another year-long ban from the NFL. The Browns were contemplating what to do with the troubled star prior to the news, but now there only seems to be one option. The Cleveland Browns need to part ways with Gordon and find some new talent.
Cleveland’s receiving corps overachieved in the 2014 season before Gordon’s return from a 10-game ban. Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins came into their own, and veteran Miles Austin proved to be a clutch receiver on third down. These three players, even with a healthy Jordan Cameron, won’t be able to handle the weight of the entire offense again though. The Browns will likely be with a new starting quarterback and have their sixth offensive coordinator in as many seasons. The Browns will need some fresh faces at the wide receiver position. Where will the team look for reinforcements?
The Browns could look to address their need with the draft. The team didn’t draft a single wide receiver last year, and they have Buffalo’s first round pick so they could easily go that route this year. Amari Cooper is the best receiver in the class, but it’s unlikely that the Heisman finalist from Alabama will still be on the board by Cleveland’s number 12 pick. The Browns have great slot options, and they will likely be interested in tall receivers such as Louisville’s DeVante Parker, Auburn’s Sammie Coates, and Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong. Those receivers may not be worth the 12th overall pick, but the Browns could also use the 19th pick.
Free agency doesn’t have the best outlook for the Browns. Dallas is definitely going to do their best to keep Dez Bryant, and Denver will likely keep Demaryius Thomas. Those are the biggest options for this year, but there are a few names that are intriguing. Baltimore’s Torrey Smith could definitely help the Browns stretch the field, but it also seems unlikely the Ravens will let him go. The most likely target would be San Fransisco’s Michael Crabtree. The former Texas Tech star is going to want to get paid, and San Fran likely won’t want to pay him since their receiving options are solid. Crabtree could get a lot of money from the Browns, and the allure of being top dog may also be appealing.
All in all, Gordon is likely on his way out, and the Browns need to plan for life without him.