After the Chiefs made a huge splash with the signing of recently reinstated WR Josh Gordon, it’s important to remember that his addition to KC’s lethal offense doesn’t mean he’s going to be the same receiver he was in 2013…
The Kansas City Chiefs might have a 1-2 record, thanks largely in part to their defense, but that didn’t stop GM Brett Veach from expanding the offensive firepower at Patrick Mahomes’ fingertips early this week.
On Tuesday the former Cleveland Brown All-Pro receiver officially signed his contract with Kansas City after being reinstated by the NFL this past weekend and ever since then fans of #ChiefsKingdom have debated whether or not Gordon can truly produce like he used to.
Obviously, Gordon would never be able to reproduce the 1,646-yard season he had way back in 2013–which went along nicely with his nine touchdowns–but that does not mean that there aren’t high expectations for the 1x-Pro Bowler.
So what would those expectations realistically look like if he were to start playing right away during week four’s matchup against Philadelphia?
For starters, it should be noted that Gordon has not played more than 13 games since that 2013 Pro Bowl season. And since that year he has been suspended on five occasions and missed sixty games including three full seasons since then (’15, ’16, ’20).
The Chiefs are looking for Gordon to not only stay out of trouble, but they are most likely looking for a season similar to his 2018 season with the New England Patriots after he was traded by Cleveland.
In those first eleven games as a Patriot, he racked up 720 receiving yards and three TDs. He averaged 18 yards per catch and caught 58.8% of the passes thrown his way by Tom Brady on his way to his sixth Super Bowl victory.
With Gordon playing alongside Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce this new stint in the AFC will be more of an experiment for the 30-year old receiver, unlike his time in New England where his spot as a starter on the team was solidified from the day he stepped into Gillette Stadium.
Hill and Kelce being Mahomes’ main targets make Gordon’s role that much more fascinating for any fan of the NFL, not just Chiefs fans. With those two getting 50% of the targets so far this season (52 out of 104) Gordon will almost certainly be used more as a decoy early on, this will hopefully get Hill open downfield more often and Kelce more space to move around in the middle.
So what should be a realistic goal for Gordon assuming he plays the final 14 games of the season for Andy Reid? What about an optimistic goal?
Optimistically, if Gordon can get acclimated to Reid and Bieniemy’s offensive playbook quickly and he uses his height (6’3″) to his advantage in corner shots or 50/50 jump balls then he could possibly catch multiple TDs in his first few weeks before defensive coordinators start to catch on.
So, optimistically, Gordon could finish the season with upwards of five or six TDs, 650+ yards, and maybe a few rushing attempts through jet sweeps that brings his total yards from scrimmage above 700.
But let’s be realistic. Le’Veon Bell did not pan out much last season and Gordon has a history of letting his team down by getting suspended for half of every season.
Realistically, Gordon could have 25-35 catches for around 300-400 yards and a few TDs by the end of the season. But that doesn’t matter because ultimately his role as a decoy could lead to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of yards for other players.
Whether he’s playing the slot position or X-receiver, he will definitely get a chance to show he still has the chops for the job of WR2 on his fourth team.
In the end, Chiefs fans should just be happy that Veach and Reid are swinging for the fences and even if Gordon does not work out, this is a low-risk, high-reward situation that has plenty of upsides in the running game and the passing game.