Jimmy Haslam Nixed Josh Gordon Trade; 3 Things Lost On The Browns In the Preseason


Aug 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Remember last year, when the Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi were considering a  Josh Gordon trade. The owner, Jimmy Haslam, who we never hear from, intervened and said, “No.”

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The 49ers reportedly offered a second-round pick, as well as other players, but despite his history with drugs and suspensions, Haslam couldn’t part with Gordon’s talent, according to Jason La Canfora.

"“…When the Browns reached a point where they would have to engage in more than surface-level talks to complete a trade, Haslam’s trepidation about dealing such a gifted player – on an offense generally bereft of talent – effectively ended the process.”"

La Canfora goes on to write that the Browns did their best to shield Gordon from the off-the-field issues that curbed his college career, but those efforts looked unsuccessful when reports surfaced that the Pro Bowler tested positive for marijuana last spring.

It looked as if the Browns were burned by the decision not to deal Gordon, but it was the right call, especially since the NFL may forgive his indefinite suspension in exchange for HGH testing from the player’s union.

Trading his talent would’ve been a bad move, because “talent” and “Browns” are two words that haven’t been used synonymously since the franchise was reborn in 1999.

Now, about the preseason. Most of it was ugly, but remember, the Browns weren’t going to show all their cards from the get-go. This isn’t to say Mike Pettine has a secret card up his sleeve to take the team to the Super Bowl, but team’s overall play should be better because…

Aug 18, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns linebacker Jabaal Sheard (97) lines up against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jabaal Sheard should be much more noticeable. Pettine was probably holding back with the linebacker/defensive end, but now the former Pitt Panther, who was drawing rave reviews in Training Camp, should be unleashed in numerous blitz pressures.

From ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi:

"“…The Steelers will see more of Sheard than Manziel. Browns coaches effectively mothballed Sheard during the preseason because they wanted to conceal their uses of Sheard as a wrecking-ball disrupter in the Mike Pettine defense."

• Expect Brian Hoyer to look confident, as he did against the Bears in the preseason finale. The North Olmsted native has been taking first-team reps and should be a lot more comfortable running the offense.

From Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto:

"“The Browns really believe that Brian Hoyer will turn in a savvy game at Pittsburgh. While his attitude didn’t change, he seemed to be throwing the ball with more confidence and has better command of the offense in practice since being named the starter.”"

From what Pluto writes, it sounds as if Hoyer will be the quarterback we saw last year, knowing he’s not competing with Johnny Manziel.

Ben Tate is going to run the ball unlike he did in the preseason. Tate actually ran pretty well in the games that don’t count, but now Arian Foster‘s backup can real unleash his talents.

During the preseason, Tate rushed for 89 yards on 22 carries. He is a huge upgrade from what the Browns used in 2013.

The key for Tate is staying healthy, as the Browns have unproven backups Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell behind the former Texan.