Identifying 6 Nate Burleson Replacement Options for the Detroit Lions

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Josh Gordon (trade, Cleveland)

Sep 22, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Cleveland Browns really in firesale mode? Or had they just lost faith and patience in Trent Richardson, and got an offer they couldn’t refuse?

The answer to that question determines whether this is a viable option or not, but the real question is whether it should be, anyway. Much of the reason Gordon, whom the Browns acquired with a second-round pick in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, is considered available for trade is because of off-field issues.

To be specific, Gordon has just returned from a two-game substance abuse suspension. This is concerning, considering how he was dismissed from Baylor for failed two drug tests for marijuana. Nobody knows for sure whether or not Gordon has any objection to the idea of being the next Charles Rogers. That said, his suspension was reportedly for the use of codeine, which he was taking for a cold. It could be an innocent mistake, but it’s not like he doesn’t have a history.

Despite those issues, Gordon is an explosive playmaker, and anyone looking to trade for him will pay a substantial fee to get him, especially in light of his 146-yard performance against Minnesota in his first action this season. Are the Lions going to want to pay that for a guy whose self-control might be as explosive as his athleticism?

Risk: Very High

It’s hard to imagine the Lions getting Gordon for less than a second-round pick. They last time the Lions spent a second-round pick on a wide receiver this risky, he turned out to be mentally unstable.

Reward: High

As with any player with a red flag on his personal issues, Gordon is a steal if he stays out of trouble. He would most likely represent not just a replacement for Burleson, but a long-term starter, and the downfield threat the Lions have wanted to pair with Calvin Johnson for years. It’s a lot of “if,” though.