The Cleveland Browns have their eyes on the future, and it doesn't include Josh Gordon. The team announced Saturday that it plans to release the oft-troubled wide receiver on Monday.
Gordon, in turn, has his sights on possibly headed to San Francisco, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
ESPN's Adam Schefter later confirmed Rapoport's report and added an interesting tidbit about the Browns' trade preference.
Cleveland prefers to trade WR Josh Gordon out of the AFC, and to an NFC team, and that's the Browns' current intent, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 16, 2018
Gordon knows he has no say in where he is traded, but the two places he's hoping to land are with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.
Of course, the Browns could trade Gordon elsewhere before Monday, as Pro Football Talk cited a league source in reporting that "a few teams" already have called Cleveland about possibly acquiring him. And while the 49ers are young at wide receiver and might use some experience there, the competition for Gordon could be fierce -- as PFT notes, the Seahawks, Patriots and Cowboys have big needs at the position.
However, Gordon could cost the 49ers just $790,000 this season, and they could keep him on a restricted free agent tender in 2019, if they chose. That's a low cost for a talented wideout who once posted 1,646 receiving yards in a dominating 2013 season and played under now-49ers coach Kyle Shanahan in 2014. Then again, Gordon's presence in San Francisco likely would cut into precious reps for Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor, Richie James and Kendrick Bourne.
As Rapoport pointed out, though, the 49ers almost traded for Gordon four years ago, if that means anything.
I was reminded that the #Browns nearly traded Gordon to the #49ers before the 2014 season in exchange for a 2nd rounder & RB Kendall Hunter. Chud didn’t want to do it, Jimmy Haslam vetoed the deal. 🤷🏽♂️ https://t.co/xvqHqozD6E— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 16, 2018
The decision for the 49ers now would be if sacrificing assets is worth the potential problems that Gordon could bring into a young, developing locker room. If they believe it's worth the risk -- and Shanahan does have history with Gordon -- the 49ers could add a 27-year-old who might have something left in the tank, if he can shake his reported substance-abuse demons.
This Sunday, be sure to watch 49ers Pregame Live at 12 p.m. and 49ers Postgame Live immediately after the game on NBC Sports Bay Area and live streaming on the NBC Sports app. Greg Papa, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Matt Maiocco and Laura Britt will have everything you need to know from the 49ers’ home opener.