New England Patriots

By Matt McCarthy,

Josh Gordon’s suspension for violating the terms of his NFL reinstatement represents another sad moment in the talented but troubled wide receiver’s battle with substance abuse and mental health challenges.

We can only hope that Gordon gets the help he needs.

But for the Patriots, Gordon’s departure represents a big blow to an offense that is still struggling to fire on all cylinders. It’s hard to see that getting much better now with him gone.

Make no mistake about it: the Pats have no one to blame but themselves for the position they are in.

They let Danny Amendola walk out the door in the offseason because they didn’t want to pay him. They traded Brandin Cooks to the Rams because they didn’t want to pay him next year. They didn’t want to pay anyone else to replace them.

Danny Amendola celebrates a touchdown with Chris Hogan #15 in the fourth quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

They could’ve drafted Calvin Ridley instead of Sony Michel or Isaiah Wynn. They didn’t.

They brought in the likes of Kenny Britt, Corey Coleman, Jordan Matthews, and Eric Decker. None of them could play.

All of those bad decisions led to the trade for the unreliable Gordon. The Patriots were forced to count on him, and they got burned.

A fifth round pick wasn’t a high price to pay for the promise of a player like Gordon, but the Patriots will now pay the price for what they have left at wide receiver.

Gordon became an integral part of the offense in his 11 weeks in New England. In many ways, the Patriots were lucky to have gotten as much production out of him as they did. Gordon deserves credit for joining the team after the season began and contributing as much as he did. That’s not an easy task.

Now, without him, the Patriots now need to rely more than ever on the likes of Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Phillip Dorsett.


Oct 21, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) reacts with wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) during the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Those players weren’t good enough at the beginning of the season. What are the chances they’ll be good enough now after losing snaps to Gordon for the entire year?

A year’s worth of mismanagement, misevaluation, and misguided decisions have come back to roost for the Patriots. Gordon’s suspension is just the latest blow to an offense that has taken too many hits since the start of the league year.

It’s fair to wonder if this offense has now taken one blow too many.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.