An undeniable talent, Josh Gordon is also a risk. And the Browns believe one worth hanging on to.
With rampant trade speculation swirling around Gordon for weeks, the Browns decided to keep the wide receiver who has developed into Cleveland’s top playmaker but whose off-field issues will continue to loom over the team.
When the NFL’s 4 p.m. trade deadline arrived Tuesday, the Browns sent out official word that they did not make any deals — involving Gordon or any other player on their roster. The Browns received calls on a number of players, but did not accept an offer.
Following Cleveland’s 23-17 loss on Sunday in Kansas City, Gordon, who was suspended for two games earlier this season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, said he was eager for the deadline to pass.
“I do want to stay in Cleveland,” he said after catching five passes 132 yards and a 39-yard touchdown. “Cleveland is my first home, the team I got drafted to. It’s a great place to be. I love the fans in Cleveland and everything about it, but business is business.”
Besides fielding calls on potential deals, the Browns were busy tweaking their roster.
The club signed free agent wide receiver Armanti Edwards, who previously played under Chudzinski in Carolina.
The 5-foot-11 Edwards returned punts for the Panthers and he may get a shot to do that with the Browns after Travis Benjamin sustained a season-ending knee injury on Sunday while returning a punt in the third quarter.
Also, Cleveland signed rookie offensive lineman Reid Fragel off Cincinnati’s practice squad. The 6-foot-8, 305-pound Fragel was drafted in the seventh round by the Bengals from Ohio State.
The Browns also re-signed linebacker Brandon Magee and receiver Tori Gurley to the practice squad.
The Browns began getting inquiries about Gordon shortly after they traded running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis last month in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2014.
It’s easy to see why Gordon would draw outside interest from any team in the market for a wide receiver. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Gordon has 32 catches for 582 yards and three touchdowns in six games this season.