When the Cowboys placed a third-round bid in the 2012 supplemental draft on a talented, but troubled wide receiver out of Baylor, which was overridden by the Browns second-round claim, they surely had a vision for the player. Putting to use the Player Development Department at Valley Ranch, directed by Dave Wansley, with the help of consultant Calvin Hill, and mental health consultant, Dr. Jacqueline Stephens, the Cowboys probably saw a similar path taken by players like Dez Bryant, who saw early off field troubles (though never as serious as those Gordon has faced) but has grown into a true leader on the team.
Throughout Jason Garrett's tenure as head coach of the Cowboys, there has been an emphasis on bringing in the "Right Kind of Guys", which Garrett himself summarized as players with "passion, emotion, and enthusiasm" for the game. One of the quantifiable traits that has been used in relation to the "RKG" label is players who have been team captains at the college level, with the theoretical benefit of having a team full of natural leaders all seeking to elevate the collective performance. A second benefit of this is an increased level of stability in the locker room, and the confidence that the players within the locker room will not be shaken by outside influences, and will be able to focus to accomplish the task at hand.
We have seen the Cowboys take a low-risk, high-reward approach by trading conditional picks for former Raiders and Ravens linebacker Rolando McClain, who has faced plenty of off-field issues, including questioning how much he loves the game of football. They have been able to take this risk on McClain without fear that he may be a disruption because of the leadership in the linebacker room (including Sean Lee even with an ACL injury), and the defense overall.
In a similar vein, I feel that with all of the issues plaguing Josh Gordon of late, I would pick up the phone and call the Browns, finding out what might be required to take the "problem" off their hands. If the price is right, I think the deal makes sense from so many angles.
- On the field, adding a wide receiver of Gordon's quality, who can go for 1,646 yards on 87 catches with nine touchdowns, to a receiving corps currently headlined by Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, would undoubtedly give the Cowboys the best receiver group in football, and set Tony Romo up to break many a record.
- Off the field, having the Cowboys' Player Development team of Wansley, Hill, and Stephens to assist him would greatly benefit Gordon.
- In addition to Wansley's team, having teammates like Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith who are elite level players who have encountered some off field issues of their own (whether of their own doing or not), would certainly help Gordon see the light at the end of the tunnel for his journey.
- Veteran leaders like Tony Romo and Jason Witten, each of whom invested heavily in Bryant's development would be on hand as well, to provide additional accountability and guidance.
- Being in Texas, close to home, and close to Baylor University, with a former college teammate (Williams) in the meeting room and former Cleveland teammate (Brandon Weeden) in the locker room with him could provide a sense of comfort for Gordon.
Overall, having Josh Gordon on the Cowboys makes a ton of sense, and if somehow he becomes a "former Cleveland Brown", I believe the Cowboys should explore the option of pursuing him. If he is suspended for a full season, and can not step foot in any NFL facility, removing all the structure and support that comes with it. It's possible his career could be over, but I would not be surprised or upset if the Cowboys attempted to help him revive his career.