In one of the more puzzling moves by the NFL, the league decided to reinstate Josh Gordon after he was indefinitely banned by the league a year ago.
While he is permitted to attend team meetings, individual works, and strength and conditioning starting Dec. 9 pending a negative COVID-19 test, he can’t practice or attend games until after Dec. 21 — just in time for their week 15 matchup against the Rams.
Listen, I’m not the first person to criticize the NFL’s outdated substance-abuse policies, and the puzzling move isn’t the move itself but the timing. According to ESPN, Gordon applied for reinstatement in June so he could participate in the training camp. Neither Gordon’s legal team nor the Seattle Seahawks know what took the league so long to hand down a decision.
If the league made him wait two weeks before he could step on the field, why not make a decision in June or August. Honestly, if he is only going to be reinstated for two regular-season games, what’s the point. Maybe the league is afraid Gordon will receive his second super bowl ring as a suspended player, but I digress.
Gordon might not have played for a full year, but the Seattle Seahawks would not have offered him a one-year contract extension without the expectation of utilizing Gordon if the league reinstated him. Throughout his short career due to suspensions, Gordon was still a phenomenal talent.
Gordon had 139 receiving yards on seven receptions in his five games with Seattle, good for nearly 28 yards per game or about 20 yards per reception. Thirty-four yards of his 139 receiving yards came from the Rams in his fourth game in Seattle. In his best season, where he missed the first two games for violating the NFL’s drug policy, Gordon led the league in receiving yards with 1,646 and 117.6 yards per game, made first-team All-Pro, and selected to the pro bowl.
The terms of Gordon’s reinstatement means his first game back will be against the Rams. Gordon is a tremendous wide receiver, but Gordon certainly won’t be a challenge with how the Rams defense is playing. Seattle might be one of the league’s most dominant passing offenses this season, but it’s been slipping recently. Their once definitive hold on the division has put them in a deadlock battle with the Rams.
Brandon Staley and the Rams’ defense stopped Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in week 10 and will do it again in week 16. The question is who lines up against Gordon if he steps on the field. Jalen Ramsey might have to perform double duty covering both Gordon and D.K. Metcalf as well taking looks against Tyler Lockett. With Josh Gordon reinstated, Seattle might have the scariest wide receiver trio. The Rams secondary did not let Wilson get going in week 10. They held Wilson to his only zero passing touchdown game of the season. If any team could take on the new addition to the Seahawks receiver core, it’s the Rams. They also managed to hold Wilson to zero touchdowns last season in week 14, where Gordon had 34 receiving yards. So, they’ve seen what Gordon can do in Seattle’s offense and can stop it.
Ramsey will most likely stay on Metcalf for their second match up because a sweep should clinch the division for the Rams. John Johnson or Jordan Fuller will most likely be covering Gordon, a deep ball threat like Metcalf, with Troy Hill lining up against Locket.
Gordon on the Seahawks would only be a concern if the NFL reinstated him before training camp.
There is no way he receives significant playing time against the Rams. He won’t even be a problem if the Rams and Seahawks meet up in the playoffs.
Featured Image: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times