After being suspended by the NFL yet again last December, it looked like Josh Gordon’s career might be over. However, the New England Patriots wide receiver was surprisingly reinstated by the league this summer, and now, he’ll get to join his comrades for Week 1.
This is enormous news for the Patriots, who were getting set to enter 2019 with a very shaky and unproven receiving corps, but now that Gordon is in tow, New England suddenly has a pretty nice group of wideouts.
So, here are three last-minute predictions for Gordon going into this season:
3. He Won’t Get Suspended
I won’t go as far to guarantee that he will play all 16 games, as injuries do happen, but I will say that I don’t think Gordon is going to get suspended again this year, which would be very significant for the 28-year-old.
Since a monstrous 2013 campaign with the Cleveland Browns, Gordon has played in just 22 games due to suspensions, missing two full seasons.
It can’t be easy being Gordon, who has been very open about his addiction, but he also has to understand that this could very well be his last chance to prove to the NFL that he can stay on the right path.
Gordon is an incredible talent and a very good kid, so as long as he remains on the straight and narrow as far his drug-related issues go, he’ll be just fine and should be able to play a full season.
2. He’ll Catch 60 Passes
Gordon caught 40 passes in 11 games with the Pats in 2018, which translates to 58 receptions over the course of a full 16-game campaign.
Now that he has an understanding of the Patriots’ system, he should snare at least 60 balls this season, and that number may actually be a bit low.
Remember: New England traded for Gordon midseason last year, so it wasn’t like Tom Brady had any time to develop a rapport with him over the offseason. This summer, he had that chance, so he should be more comfortable throwing the ball to Gordon in 2019.
It would not shock me if Gordon ended up catching over 70 passes, especially with the loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski.
But, generally, Brady likes to spread the ball around, and Julian Edelman is still on the roster, so somewhere in between 60 and 70 catches for Gordon sounds more realistic.
1. He’ll Register 1,000 Yards
To show just how much of a freak Gordon is, he amassed 720 yards on his 40 catches with the Pats in 2018, which translates to 1,047 yards over an entire season. It also means he averaged an insane 18 yards per catch.
Taking that into consideration, I see no reason why Gordon shouldn’t log at least 1,000 yards receiving in 2019 if he catches 60 balls.
Put it this way: back in 2013, Gordon racked up a league-leading 1,646 yards on 87 receptions, and it’s not like he is 10 years older. He is still just 28, so he surely has a lot left in the tank.
I’m not saying he’ll be the 2013 version of himself, but he will have his most productive season since then, and he will probably earn some Pro Bowl consideration as a result.