Maybe Josh Gordon’s career in New England will pan out like Randy Moss’s. Maybe he will be Michael Floyd, Kenny Britt or Chad Ochocinco. Enter the name of a fallen superstar Bill Belichick has kicked the tires on at some point and realize that, over 18 years, all we know is that sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t.
The amazing thing about being the greatest head coach in NFL history is that it doesn’t particularly matter. Belichick has created the kind of system that can immediately weed out the good and bad; it motors on from anyone who can’t keep up. Teams have tried and failed to copy this churn, which ultimately fails due to their lack of stability at the quarterback position, the coordinator spots, the offensive line or a combination of the three. There is enough talent both on the NFL’s roster fringe or free agency if a coach is flexible enough to sift through the junk.
Maybe Belichick will look like a genius for bringing in Gordon, even though the Patriots have been frantically turning over rocks in every NFL city searching for someone capable of filling the lineup card at receiver behind Chris Hogan—this is, sort of, a mess he created for himself. Maybe Gordon will disappear from the roster one Wednesday morning like D. B. Cooper, with the inevitable non-explanation from the head coach to follow. We won’t talk much about it because they’ll have a seven-game lead in the AFC East.
In sticking to this process, Belichick gives himself access to talent that general managers once drooled over on draft day, nabbing them for a third of the price once the players have matured physically over a few years in the league. By the time these embattled playmakers fall into Belichick’s hands, they are aware that this is likely the last shot they’ll have at regenerating their career and typically act accordingly.