No trade news is good news for Browns

Posted Oct 29, 2013

Senior Editor Vic Carucci says that the fact the Browns didn’t part ways with Josh Gordon and/or Jordan Cameron by Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline was a good sign for what’s ahead.

The best news for the Browns on Tuesday was that there was no news.

No trade news.

It was the best news because wide receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron, the team’s two most dynamic play-makers, are still on the roster.

It was the best news because no one within the Browns’ hierarchy – not CEO Joe Banner, not coach Rob Chudzinski – has to explain to anyone exactly what the club would be trying to achieve through the remaining eight games without Gordon or Cameron or both.

Banner and Chudzinski have said, for the record, that the Browns weren’t seeking to trade those or any other players.

But it also was understood that Banner would answer inquiries from interested parties and if the “right” offer were made, there was at least a chance that one, most likely Gordon, or both could have been dealt away by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET NFL trading deadline.

That was largely what prompted repeated reports, mostly from national media types, that the Browns were open to the possibility of parting ways with Gordon and/or Cameron.

Why no trade ultimately happened, if there even was one remotely close to being contemplated, is irrelevant. Suffice it to say that no one made the proverbial offer that couldn’t be refused.

What mattered is that those reports made a lot of us very uncomfortable. Picturing the Browns’ offense without Gordon’s exceptional game-breaking skills was enough to make even the most ardent supporter of the team sick to his or her stomach.

The risk of Gordon, who was suspended for the first two games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, again running afoul of league rules and not being allowed to play for the rest of the season generally paled next to the reward of his continuing to give the offense one of its two legitimate offensive threats.

Regardless of what Banner or anyone else might have tried to say to the contrary, shipping Gordon and/or Cameron elsewhere would have made a resounding statement that the Browns were, in fact, giving up on the rest of the season for the sake of next year’s draft.

This would have been very different from the September deal that sent running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick. For all of the “they’re-tanking-the-season” talk that that transaction prompted, the underlying factor working in the Browns’ favor was Richardson’s less-than-spectacular performance last season … or through the first two games this season … or through any of the games he has played for the Colts so far.

That trade was easy to embrace and now is widely viewed as a landslide victory for the Browns.

A Gordon and/or Cameron trade was not capable of being spun.

Eight games is a long stretch. Seasons can be made or broken in eight games, especially with the Browns still in striking distance of the first-place Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.

With Gordon and Cameron – and Jason Campbell at quarterback and a solid defense – the Browns have a chance to make some noise through the final eight games. Without one or both of them, they don’t.

With Gordon and Campbell, the Browns have two key building blocks that can be enhanced through the offensive additions they are likely to make in next year’s draft and free-agent shopping period.

Thanks to no Browns trade news on Tuesday, Chudzinski can stand before his team on Wednesday and speak credibly about the plan to beat the Ravens on Sunday and trying to do something special through the balance of the season.

Thanks to no Browns trade news on Tuesday, the rest of us don’t have to dread the thought of watching those final eight games and count the days, minutes, and seconds until the 2014 draft because that would be (potentially) the only good news on the horizon.

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