The Patriots moved to keep Gordon in the fold this week, placing a high restricted tender on him that forces potential suitors to surrender a second-round draft pick in the unlikely event he’s signed as a free agent this offseason.
The move has another key aspect, according to sources who spoke with Yahoo Sports: It allows Gordon to remain under the Patriots’ (and NFL’s) medical umbrella as he continues to sustain care in the coming months. According to the sources, New England has been actively engaged in Gordon’s efforts to continue mental health and substance abuse treatment following his suspension.
He reacted to the news on his Instagram account Tuesday, thanking the Patriots and posting a quote: “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
Should Gordon be reinstated for the 2019 season, the restricted designation puts the Patriots on the books for a $2.025 million salary that would be prorated if he were to play only a portion of the season.
What happens next for Gordon remains to be seen. But a source told Yahoo Sports his fate ultimately lies in the hands of Goodell, who previously worked out a framework during Gordon’s last reinstatement. Like the Dallas Cowboys’ Randy Gregory, who is also serving an indefinite suspension, Goodell has the sole power to once again allow Gordon back into the league.
After being traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Patriots last season, Gordon played in 11 games, catching 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns. In December he was suspended by the NFL for failing to adhere to the terms of the previous reinstatement he had reached with Goodell.
Gordon will turn 28 in April.
More from Yahoo Sports: