COMMENTARY | After the first few weeks of the season, one thing is clear about the New England Patriots; they lack a game changer at wide receiver. The team's offense has not looked the same to this point, and Tom Brady could certainly use some help in the passing game. There's not much of a vertical threat, and the middle of the field is getting crowded as a result.
Rob Gronkowski is still a question mark, although he should be back in the fold at some point. Danny Amendola, to nobody's surprise, is always injured. Wes Welker isn't walking through the door, and neither is Aaron Hernandez. Oh, and neither is the 2007 version of Randy Moss.
To be fair, Julian Edelman has performed admirably. Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson are improving, but they're simply not ready to be primary weapons. The receivers on the roster are working hard and doing what they can, but they're just not good enough.
Trades don't happen as often in the NFL as they do in other leagues, but it's still an option for New England to explore. One name that sticks out as a possible trade target is Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns. His name has floated around in trade rumors in recent weeks, but it's unclear if Cleveland would be willing to deal him.
The Browns aren't giving up on the season as many believed after trading Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. They've seemingly found some new life, although this may have ended with Brian Hoyer's injury. Cleveland rallied around the career backup quarterback before his season was lost to an ACL injury. With Brandon Weeden back as the starter, the Browns' run might be over sooner rather than later. If things start to turn south by the trade deadline, you have to believe the team would have to listen to offers for Gordon.
Gordon could be the vertical threat that the Patriots have been missing for years. His presence alone would help open up the middle of the field for Amendola and Edelman, and he would finally give opposing defensive coordinators a receiver to plan against. His talent is undeniable, and he has been a monster so far this season with 25 receptions, 429 yards, and two touchdowns in just four games. With no disrespect intended, Gordon has been doing this with Hoyer and Weeden. Imagine what his production could be like with Brady?
Without a doubt, there are questions with Gordon. He was suspended earlier in the year for violating the league's drug policy, and he had a few issues off the field in college. Following the Hernandez mess, the Patriots do not need any more off the field distractions. This isn't to say that Gordon would be a problem, but it's a possibility that needs to be thoroughly considered. Learning the offense is also a legitimate concern, as we've seen talented receivers fail to get this done in the past.
This is a chance that New England needs to take if they have the opportunity. Go get Josh Gordon to stretch the field. Gronk will be back at some point, and Edelman will still be in the middle of the field to keep the ball moving. With a few talented running backs and a suddenly improved defense, the Patriots could be a scary team.
It's clear that Cleveland management wants to rebuild parts of the roster and start fresh. Tom Brady is nearing the end of his career, and the Patriots need to do whatever it takes to maximize his final years. If giving up a draft pick is what it takes to bring a receiver of Josh Gordon's talent to New England, the deal needs to get done.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering New England sports for various blogs over the past 4 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings. Follow him on Twitter @YahooCelticsGuy
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