A report earlier on Wednesday by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio noting that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is set to become a restricted free agent next month has now been walked back. After receiving clarification from the NFL Players’ Association, Florio reports that Gordon will in fact become an exclusive rights free agent.
NFLPA clarifies: Josh Gordon will be an Exclusive Rights Free Agent. He did not get an accrued year for 2017.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 21, 2018
What exactly does that mean in the grand scheme of things? Essentially, it means Gordon will not become a free agent at all. Cleveland is the only team that can negotiate with him and has the ability to offer him the league minimum for a player with less than four years of service time.
Gordon suited up for five games this past season after being reinstated by the NFL. If the talented receiver had played six games, he would have been eligible to become a restricted free agent. Now, he either signs the tender Cleveland throws his way or sits out the entire 2018 season.
The troubled pass catcher hauled in 18 receptions for 335 yards in just five games last season. He’s the most-talented Browns skill-position player. So short of the team trading him, Gordon will be on the roster next season.