Clearing salary cap space has a tendency to make personnel decisions complicated. Josh Gordon was among New England's notable offseason acquisitions, alongside Michael Bennett via trade with the Eagles - Bennett has since been traded again from the Patriots to the Cowboys for a 6th Round pick in 2021 - and Demaryius Thomas. Eight days after being placed on New England's IR on October 23rd with a "minor injury designation," Gordon was released by the team. The very next day, on November 1, the Seahawks signed Gordon. 10 tens later, Gordon would make his Seattle debut, and haul in a crucial 3rd down pass from Russell Wilson in the 4th quarter of their Monday Night Football matchup against the 49ers. Three plays later, Jason Myers would make a 46-yard field goal to send the game into overtime, later winning the game for the Seahawks as time expired in OT with a 42-yarder.
By Tuesday, all of New England was wondering if Bill Belichick and the typically reliable Patriots' front office had made a mistake in releasing Gordon.
Likely playing a role in the decision to put Gordon on waivers was the return of talented rookie wideout N'Keal Harry, and the designation of Mohamed Sanu as the Patriots' number one(-ish) receiver. (It can often be difficult to determine who tops the WR category in a Patriots' depth chart, hence labeling Sanu "WR number one-ish.") N'Keal Harry limped off the field on his third snap of the team's first preseason game and was placed on the IR a month later. With certain factions within Patriots fandom considering Mo Sanu a better version of Danny Amendola, and with salary cap space lingering as an ever-present, back-of-mind consideration, Gordon seems to have been deemed the odd man out in New England.
With Belichick and Brady donning seven Super Bowl rings, even the most outspoken armchair quarterback tends to hesitate when offering criticism in the Patriots' direction. But despite being in his eighth NFL season, Josh Gordon's potential remains elusive. Considering that he was picked up by the Seahawks, among the league's most stable, successful franchises of the past decade, jumped at the opportunity to sign him, and then moved quickly to integrate him into the offense, #PatsNation may have cause to be legitimately concerned that their front office may have just gifted a potential Super Bowl opponent a significant weapon.