What Josh Gordon being placed on injured reserve means for Patriots

Ryan Hannable
October 23, 2019 - 7:44 pm

The whirlwind of a year for the Patriots wide receiver position continues.

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On Wednesday, Josh Gordon was placed on injured reserve and reportedly will be waived/released with an injury settlement, meaning his time in New England is over.

So, what does this mean on the field?

Barring no other moves are made at the position, the team will be going the rest of the season with Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski and N’Keal Harry (eligible to play next week against Baltimore).

Edelman’s role stays as is -- the wide out who will get the most targets and depended on the most -- while for others things change a bit.

First off, it’s pretty clear why the Patriots gave up a second-round pick in order to land Sanu. It may have been over-paying a bit, but clearly they knew what was going on with Gordon and another receiver was needed even more badly than originally thought.

Sanu will certainly be counted on to produce, as he figures to be the No. 2 receiver once he gets a few weeks to learn the playbook. It may take until following the Patriots bye week for that to happen, but as long as he does, look for him to play a significant role.

The 30-year-old will do what he’s done in the past by being a possession receiver that lines up mostly in the middle of the field. This could take pressure off Edelman, and allow him to line up more on the outside.

Dorsett and Meyers’ roles really don’t change all that much. Dorsett will continue in the No. 3 role with Meyers being a situational receiver, although the rookie is starting to prove he can be counted on more and more. On Meyers, it is worth noting most of his snaps have come on the inside and with Sanu coming aboard, maybe some of those are taken away and he will focus more playing on the outside.

Meanwhile, Harry probably sees his role change the most with the news.

With Gordon still around and Sanu in the mix, there was a real possibility the first-round pick could have stayed on injured reserve, but now with Gordon gone, it is almost a certainty Harry is activated to the roster before next week’s game against the Ravens.

Harry, who stands 6-foot-4, is actually very similar to Gordon. Both play on the outside and have the ability to make contested catches. This is one of Harry’s best traits, which was shown in the preseason. There are major questions with Harry considering all the time he’s missed dating back to the summer, but with no real outside threat on the roster, he will be counted on more than originally thought.

Based on Gordon’s below average play this season, this isn’t a total game-changer for the Patriots offense, but it’s another player gone after serious time and resources were invested.

Related: Details emerge in curious case of Josh Gordon being placed on injured reserve