Josh Gordon has taken the next step in his latest NFL reinstatement, officially signing with the Chiefs’ practice squad on Monday. The expectation, per multiple reports, is for Gordon to eventually be promoted to Kansas City’s 53-man roster.
Gordon, who has not played in a game since 2019 because of suspension, was reinstated by the NFL on Friday. He confirmed his signing via Twitter:
Gordon signed with the Seahawks in 2020 while under conditional reinstatement by the league. After that reinstatement was rescinded on Jan. 15, 2021, he asked Seattle to release him from his contract. The team obliged in March, making him a free agent.
Gordon was thus able to sign with any team in the league; potential options were the Browns, for whom he caught 137 passes for 2,451 yards and 14 touchdowns in his rookie and sophomore campaigns; the Patriots (60 catches, 1,007 yards, four touchdowns in 2018-19) and the Seahawks.
Ultimately, Gordon chose an entirely new team in the Chiefs. The move makes sense for both parties: He’s a relatively inexpensive investment for Kansas City and, assuming he works his way onto the 53-man roster, has shown himself to be a reliable pass-catcher for a team surprisingly in need of a boost in the passing game.
Gordon’s reinstatement coincided perfectly with some unfamiliar struggles by the Chiefs; they went 1-2 in September despite boasting one of the league’s top quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes. Deficiencies in the receiving corps were part of that. All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce leads the team in receptions (20), yards (289) and touchdowns (three).
Part of the reason for that is Kansas City’s decision to prioritize positions other than receiver this offseason, even after No. 2 receiver Sammy Watkins left following Super Bowl 55 to join the Ravens. Tyreek Hill remains Mahomes’ top wide receiver threat, leaving Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Marcus Kemp and Daurice Fountain to fill Watkins’ role. To date, only Hill (267 yards) and Hardman (107 yards) have reached triple-digit receiving yards through three games apart from Kelce.
Gordon, 30, will play his first ball in two years, though he doesn’t have considerable wear on him. He missed the entire 2015 and ’16 seasons because of suspension and then played five games in 2017, 12 games in 2018 and 11 games in 2019.
Still, his pass-catching ability was evident when he was on the field. That was especially true in 2013 when Gordon — catching passes from Browns quarterbacks Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer — led the league with 1,647 receiving yards and a 117.6 yards-per game average despite missing two contests to suspension.