How will Browns replace Gordon?
Replacement plans for suspended, injured stars in CLE, DAL, more
It's not hyperbole to suggest that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon -- who was suspended for two games and played with three separate starting quarterbacks -- had one of the finest seasons for a player at his position in 2013.
He racked up 1,646 yards -- 10th most in a single NFL season ever -- and averaged 117.6 yards per game, sixth best in league history. He totaled 499 yards in one two-week period, becoming the first NFL receiver to surpass 200 yards in consecutive games during the same regular season. He was fifth in total yards after the catch and eighth with 64 first downs.
Again, this was done in 14 games and with a troika of quarterbacks: Brian Hoyer (two-plus games played), Brandon Weeden (eight starts) and Jason Campbell (six starts). The latter two players were cut this offseason. And while Hoyer may have the early edge in the Browns' quarterback race this summer, few believed he was the answer in Cleveland when he took over as the starter last season.
News of a possible season-long suspension for Gordon as a result of an alleged failed drug test, reported by ESPN's Outside The Lines, came just moments before the second night of the NFL draft. The Browns were aware of the pending suspension before the report came out, yet opted not to draft a wide receiver with either of their first-round picks (originally Nos. 4 and 26 overall). In fact, Cleveland didn't draft a receiver at all. Moreover, they cut ties with Greg Little and then one month after signing veteran Earl Bennett, they released him, too.
While Gordon's suspension has not become official (including the length), there's a belief that it will both occur and stretch for a significant period (up to the full season, as previously mentioned).
How will the Browns replace him? Let's take a look at that and other situations around the league where teams are having to replace key contributors who have been suspended or injured since the offseason began.
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