Despite only having played in 11 games since 2013, including none in 2015 and 2016 as he was on an indefinite suspension from the NFL, Gordon remains a highly regarded talent. In only 14 games during that 2013 campaign, which was his second in the NFL, he led the league in receiving yards, even with his Browns trotting out the decidedly unimpressive quarterback trio of Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weeden.
So imagine what Gordon, who’s just 27, could do with Tom Brady at quarterback? Before that question is fully answered, Gordon will have to display reliability, a trait very much lacking during a 6½-year stint in Cleveland in which he struggled with substance-abuse issues, but his impending arrival in New England has restored that team to its usual perch atop lists of Super Bowl odds.
According to OddsShark, which cited information from the betting website Bovada, the trade for Gordon had the Patriots listed at plus-650 to win it all, tying the team with the Rams for the best odds. (That designation means that a bet of $100 would return a profit of $650.)
Earlier on Monday, OddsShark had reported the Patriots as having plus-800 odds, well behind the Rams, who have parlayed a talent-laden roster into a convincing 2-0 start, including a 33-13 win over the Raiders and a 34-0 walloping Sunday of the Cardinals. For its part, New England opened with a 27-20 win over the Texans before falling Sunday to the Jaguars, 31-20.
Despite the fact that Patriots covered what was listed at several sports books as a 6½-point spread in Week 1, Bovada’s Super Bowl odds at that time moved from plus-550 down slightly to plus-600 (per OddsShark). That was still the best number of any NFL team, reflecting New England’s status as perennial favorites to at least appear in the championship game, as they have done eight times since 2002 under with Brady and Coach Bill Belichick.
There has been a bit of skepticism, though, about the talent on the other end of Brady’s passes, aside from star tight end Rob Gronkowski and dependable running back James White. With Julian Edelman starting the season on a four-game suspension, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson have been the only wide receivers with catches thus far, as the team cut ties in the offseason with a number of noteworthy veteran players, including Kenny Britt, Eric Decker, Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell.
Thus Gordon has a chance to make a big impression fairly quickly — as long as he can stay in Belichick’s good graces, of course, not to mention staying away from what could be a lifetime ban from the NFL. ESPN’s Mike Clay, who handles statistical projections for the website’s fantasy football operation, foresees a presumed “significant role” for Gordon resulting in 55 catches for 851 yards and six touchdowns over 13 games this season, even with Edelman returning and posting good numbers in his own right.
That type of performance from Gordon would be very useful indeed to the Patriots, and the possibility of it, in addition to his physical profile and skill set, has inspired comparisons to when the team traded for Randy Moss ahead of the 2007 season. New England didn’t quite win the Super Bowl that season, but given that it went undefeated before that game, it was a pretty darn good bet to do so.