Gordon, who led the league in receiving yards (1,646) lost an appeal to have his one-year ban reduced and with playing in the CFL not an option, per league rules, Gordon hurt the Browns more than he hurt himself, as now Cleveland is bereft of a big-play, deep vertical threat on offense.
Deep in the collective gut of Browns fans, the Gordon suspension doesn’t come as a surprise. What does come as a surprise—even today—is that the Browns failed to draft a wide out in the 2014 NFL Draft, in perhaps one of the deepest drafts at the position in years.
Both parties in the Cleveland Browns and Gordon are to blame for failing to address their issues, when they had a chance to do so.
While that is neither here or there, the question that lingers around Northeast Ohio now is, who will step up?
Travis Benjamin, Miles Austin and Nate Burleson are all coming from various injuries and honestly cannot be relied upon to replace Gordon in terms of talent. Newly-signed Andrew Hawkins is too small and diminutive to handle the role of No.1 in the brutal AFC North and Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron is more of a flex/hybrid than a true wide receiver.
Mind you, the Browns cut Anthony Armstrong and Earl Bennett and outside of Taylor Gabriel, the lack of depth and talent at wide receiver in Cleveland is cause for major concern.
Alexander, a former 2010 undrafted pick out of Mizzou, is an unrestricted free agent wide receiver who has height (6’5) and a slender frame at 217 pounds to give either Brian Hoyer—or Johnny Football—a tall red-zone target to complement Cameron, and upside at a still relatively young age of 26 to at least give Cleveland another playmaker.
While at Mizzou, Alexander displayed flashes of first-round talent in catching 113 passes for 1,781 yards and 14 touchdowns, before injuring his left knee at the Senior Bowl, causing him to go undrafted.
Like Austin, Burleson and Benjamin, Alexander has had his rash of injuries to overcome, but with the slim pickings of available on the market, Alexander could be a realistic fill-in option for Gordon.
Before sustaining an ACL tear in his left knee in 2013, Alexander caught 37 passes for 658 yards and seven touchdowns for the Chargers in 2012.
Drafted as a developmental project by the Rams, Alexander caught 46 passes for 737 yards and three touchdowns before being cut by St Louis due to lingering hamstring injuries.
Injuries aside, Alexander would be a low-risk, high-reward gamble for Cleveland. The question is, are the Browns will to go all in?
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