What's Josh Gordon's impact on the Patriots receiver depth chart?

What's Josh Gordon's impact on the Patriots receiver depth chart?

With Josh Gordon back in the fold, one of the immediate questions that springs to mind -- from a pure football perspective -- is how does his return impact the receiver depth chart in Foxboro?

The assumption is that Gordon will be in shape when he returns to Patriots practices next week. The assumption is that he'll sit at or near the top of the depth chart, as he did last season, along with Julian Edelman. 

But what about everyone else? 

It'll be fascinating to see how Gordon's return impacts the development of N'Keal Harry. It could go one of two ways, one would think. Either he has less on his plate, transitions more smoothly, and thrives on the outside opposite Gordon with Edelman roaming the middle of the field. What I think would be a less likely scenario is that he loses reps based on Gordon's presence, and the progress we've seen Harry make over the course of the summer is somewhat stalled. Harry is injured at the moment so whether Gordon is with the team or not, he'll need to get healthy and find his way back into receiving valuable practice snaps. 

Jakobi Meyers, meanwhile, may suddenly find himself getting less work with Tom Brady as the receiver depth chart all of a sudden has become more competitive. Meyers has been one of the stars of camp for the Patriots, and he's been their most consistent receiver. He's gained Brady's trust, it seems, thriving in game-like practice scenarios with his savvy route-running and sure hands. He may have just gone from a No. 3 or No. 4, though, to a No. 4 or No. 5. I still believe he's earned a spot on the 53-man roster. 

Gordon's arrival could most significantly impact Phillip Dorsett, Maurice Harris and Braxton Berrios. Injuries notwithstanding -- and Dorsett and Harris are both currently dealing with ailments -- there may have been room for two of those three wideouts. Now there may be room for only one. 

Would the team go with Harris, who was an early standout in camp and has shown he has a grasp of the Patriots offense after only arriving a few months ago? Would they go with Dorsett, who has come through for Brady in clutch situations in the past despite having a relatively niche role in the offense? Or would they go with Berrios, whose skill set sets him apart from the other two? 

Berrios is an interesting study in that he's a true slot. Not like Harris or Dorsett, and certainly unlike Gordon. His presence inside (and as a punt returner) might save Julian Edelman from punishment in the middle of the field. Would the Patriots part ways with someone in that role in order to make room for another outside option? 

After pursuing the likes of Adam Humphries and Cole Beasley this offseason, I think the Patriots might opt to keep Berrios if he continues to progress in camp. The other two seem less safe now with Gordon's reinstatement.

Others whose odds at a roster spot seem significantly diminished now with Gordon's return include veteran Dontrelle Inman, despite some nice moments against the Lions in preseason game No. 1 and a solid week of practice in Tennessee this week. 

Damoun Patterson (practice-squadder in 2018), Gunner Olszewski (corner-turned-receiver who has impressed at times and received all kinds of work in the return game) and Ryan Davis (Jarrett Stidham's teammate at Auburn who looks like a classic slot) were always longshots to make the roster but could end up as solid practice-squad additions should they clear waivers before the start of the regular season. 

Demaryius Thomas and Cam Meredith remain on the physically unable to perform list and could come off at any time, but with Gordon now an option, there is no pressure on either to come back and try to chip in for a receiving corps before they're fully ready to go. 

Here's how I see the Patriots depth chart shaking out at receiver at this point. If I had to pick a 53-man roster, it'd include Edelman, Gordon, Harry, Meyers and Berrios as well as special teams ace Matthew Slater . . . 

Julian Edelman (NFI)
Josh Gordon
N'Keal Harry
Jakobi Meyers
Braxton Berrios
Phillip Dorsett
Maurice Harris
Demaryius Thomas (PUP)
Cam Meredith (PUP)
Dontrelle Inman
Damoun Patterson
Gunner Olszewski
Ryan Davis
Matthew Slater (special-teams)


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Five Patriots plays among Top 30 on NFL 100 list

File photos

Five Patriots plays among Top 30 on NFL 100 list

Last week, the NFL released all but the Top 30 of its 100 greatest plays as part of its 100th-anniversary celebration. Seven plays involving the Patriots cracked that list.

This week, it was a countdown of plays 30 to 1 and the Pats found themselves well-represented again. 

The list was selected by a panel of 50 voters (the same panel that votes for the NFL Awards and the All-Pro team), including our own Tom E. Curran, who listed his Top 20 plays earlier this summer, here. Voters were given a ballot of 100 plays and asked to rank 50.

The rest of the countdowns on NFL Network continue next week with Greatest Games (Sept. 27 & Oct. 4), Characters (Oct. 11 & Oct. 18), Game-Changers (Oct. 25 & Nov. 1) and Teams (Nov. 8 & Nov. 15).

The No. 1 play was Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" touchdown in the Pittsburgh Steelers' December 1972 playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders.



Report: Antonio Brown's latest incident 'enraged' Robert Kraft

Report: Antonio Brown's latest incident 'enraged' Robert Kraft

The Patriots gave Antonio Brown a shot at redemption when they signed him earlier this month, then another when they kept the wide receiver amid allegations of sexual assault.

But on Friday, enough was enough. When intimidating text messages sent by Brown to one of his accusers leaked to the public, that was the final straw.

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft came to the conclusion cutting ties with Brown was in the best interest of the team. According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the decision stemmed from Kraft being "enraged" upon hearing about Brown's latest incident.

Howe writes:

Kraft, who was on a business trip, became enraged Friday when he heard the details of Brown’s most recently reported incident of text messaging harassment of a former female acquaintance. Kraft and Belichick spoke and decided together to officially release Brown just 11 days after the Patriots signed the controversial star receiver, according to sources.

Shortly before the release was announced, Belichick walked off the podium in the middle of his press conference following a flurry of questions related to Brown. He did note, however, “There are some things that we’re looking into.”

Brown's tenure in New England lasted only 11 days and one game -- last Sunday's 43-0 win over the Dolphins. Now, he's again a free agent faced with hoping another team will be willing to give him yet another chance.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.