Assuming Browns WR Josh Gordon is found to have tested positive in the NFL’s substance-abuse program (which ESPN reported Friday), he’ll likely be banned for somewhere between eight and 16 games. Gordon, 23, has been disciplined twice previously for testing positive: once by coach Art Briles at Baylor, and once by the NFL last summer, causing him to be suspended for the first two games of the season. Playing 14 games, he still led the league in receiving yards last year and was the first receiver in history to have back-to-back 200-yard receiving games, in weeks 12 and 13.
But now he could be more problem than he’s worth, the same way the immensely talented Justin Blackmon is turning out in Jacksonville. The Browns are trying to establish a winning program, and if they can’t trust their best player, which Gordon clearly is, they’re going to have a tough decision on their hands if and when he’s suspended, and when he returns. Gordon has two years left on his rookie contract. How can the Browns possibly know what to pay him in a second contract, having no idea if they can trust him from one week to the next? If Gordon did test positive, and knowing that a monster contract would likely be coming at the end of this season if he could stay clean, it’s either a measure of the depth of his problem or a measure of his immaturity. Or both.
Gordon will appeal the suspension since his last run-in with the substance abuse program was due to a codeine-based cough syrup (or so he claims), so the argument is that he should have been in Stage 2 of the program instead of Stage 3. Gordon's availability will have a huge impact on the WR landscape as well as Johnny Manziel's potential in his rookie season.