Character concerns are of little matter to the Buffalo Bills when it comes to adding new players.
Under General Manager Doug Whaley and coach Rex Ryan, they have embraced Richie Incognito, gave sucker-punch artist IK Enemkpali another shot and drafted Karlos Williams out of Florida State despite allegations of domestic abuse and reported involvement in a drug deal that ended in armed robbery.
They've also stood by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus while he was suspended four games for violating the league's drug policy. Make no mistake, they did that because Dareus is a supremely talented player.
That same reasoning should be used in a pursuit of Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon.
According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter on Sunday, Gordon recently was released after a 30-day stint at an in-patient rehabilitation facility in New Hampshire. He remains suspended by the NFL, but cleveland.com has reported that he can be traded before the league's deadline -- which comes at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Browns, according to Schefter's report, have "moved on" from Gordon and would like to move him in a trade.
Whaley should absolutely inquire about the price. The Bills desperately need receivers with Sammy Watkins and Greg Salas on injured reserve and Marquise Goodwin and Brandon Tate currently in the league's concussion protocol. When Tate, who was acquired to be the team's returner, being out hurts the offense, it's a good indication that depth is needed at the position. De facto No. 1 receiver Robert Woods is also playing at less than 100 percent with a foot injury, which is all the more reason Whaley should try and address the position.
At 4-4, the Bills are on the fringe of the playoff race, or "in the hunt," if you will. Their bye week follows an upcoming trip to Seattle for Monday Night Football. That will give the team some much-needed time to get healthy, but would also allow any player acquired through a trade an opportunity to get up to speed with the team's scheme.
That player should be Gordon. As recently as the 2013 season -- when he had 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns -- he was in the conversation for best receiver in the NFL. He had 24 catches for 303 yards in five games in 2014 before a 10-game league suspension. He missed all of 2015 after another violation of the league's substance-abuse policy.
Gordon was reinstated by the NFL in July, but suspended for the first four games of the regular season. He served three of those games before leaving the team for rehab, so it's possible he would have to sit out one more before being allowed to play. Upon entering rehab, Gordon issued the following statement:
"After careful thought and deep consideration I've decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility. This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process."
Hopefully for his sake, Gordon got the help that he needed and will be able to resume his once-promising career. The Bills have nothing to lose by giving him a chance to do that in Buffalo. If Gordon can't keep his nose clean, or isn't the player he used to be, the team can simply cut him like they did Williams this offseason.
If Gordon truly has turned a corner in his life, however, he could be every bit the comeback story that Incognito has been. The Bills should take the low-risk gamble of finding out.