San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch confirmed that the team has inquired about Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and is "doing its due diligence," according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic.
B/R's Matt Miller reported that the Niners previously had interest in Gordon:
There was interest from the 49ers in Josh Gordon previously. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re one of the teams willing to trade for him. Has to be conditional compensation though.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) September 16, 2018
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Browns are exploring trades for the veteran wideout:
Cleveland prefers to trade WR Josh Gordon out of the AFC, and to an NFC team, and that's the Browns' current intent, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 16, 2018
Gordon knows he has no say in where he is traded, but the two places he's hoping to land are with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.
It appeared the Browns were set to release Gordon on Monday after he reportedly "broke the team's 'trust' when he reported to the facility Saturday with a hamstring issue after being a full participant in practice all week," per Chris Mortensen of ESPN.
Additionally, "The source said there were other 'mitigating factors' inclusive of current and past incidents."
Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that Gordon suffered a hamstring injury while on a photo shoot and not during practice, adding that Gordon was not released as a "result of a substance-abuse violation or failing a test."
Rapoport also reported that up to five teams are interested in potentially trading for Gordon and are determining whether to do so. A team trading for Gordon would get him for one season on a minimum contract. If he is indeed released, however, he would immediately become a free agent, avoiding waivers, and could sign a new deal.
Gordon, 27, has been dynamic when he's been on the field, catching 180 passes for 3,106 yards and 16 touchdowns in 41 career games. But a series of suspensions for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy has resulted in Gordon playing in just 11 games since 2014 and cost him the entirety of the 2015 and 2016 campaigns.
He was away from the Browns for "three weeks of training camp this summer to undergo counseling and treatment, and he recently said he was in a good place mentally and physically," per ESPN. But Gordon's reported hamstring injury, suffered during a photo shoot, was apparently the final straw for the Browns, who have previously stuck by Gordon during his various suspensions.
His talent alone will make him enticing to a number of teams, including the Niners and Dallas Cowboys, which could each use upgrades at the position. Gordon would give each squad an upgrade out wide and a player capable of to stretching the field and stressing secondaries, though he'd also bring plenty of risk, given the baggage he's accumulated during his professional career.