The Seahawks’ move this week to claim Josh Gordon speaks to how intently the team is still trying to improve its receiving corps, especially in the wake of the 49ers’ trade for Emmanuel Sanders.
Seattle’s efforts to beef up the weapons around quarterback Russell Wilson included continuing to monitor the situation with free agent Antonio Brown, according to a report Sunday from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Brown is a free agent after the Patriots released him in September in the wake of accusations of sexual assault.
Interestingly, coach Pete Carroll said after the Patriots released Brown that the Seahawks were no longer interested in him. Carroll had previously acknowledged the Seahawks were interested in Brown when the Raiders initially released him.
“We’re pretty well set right now,” Carroll said in September after New England released Brown.
But ESPN reported, and one source confirmed to the Times, that the Seahawks were continuing to at least do their “due diligence” on Brown’s situation before claiming Gordon, in part at the encouragement of Wilson, who also avidly pushed for Seattle to claim Gordon.
And ESPN reported the Seahawks could still be interested in Brown later depending on what the NFL rules about his status. The NFL is investigating the accusations against Brown, and ESPN reported it’s uncertain when the league will make a decision.
With just seven games remaining after Sunday’s contest against Tampa Bay, such a ruling may not come in time for this year and acquiring Gordon off of waivers may also fill Seattle’s receiving needs for now.
But by claiming Gordon, Seattle made clear it would like to beef up a receiving corps that has been pretty top heavy with Tyler Lockett (46) and DK Metcalf (23) the only two receivers with more than 14 catches entering Sunday, aside from injured tight end Will Dissly (23) and running back Chris Carson (22).
Gordon was not active for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay but is expected to make his Seattle debut next Monday against the 49ers.
Seattle general manager John Schneider said during his weekly pregame appearance on the team’s flagship station, ESPN 710 Seattle, that Gordon passed his physical Saturday and will practice with the team this week.
Gordon had been waived by New England with the designation that he had a “minor” injury due to a knee injury suffered in a game against the New York Giants.
Seattle had the 28th spot in the waiver claim order and Schneider echoed what Carroll said Friday that the Seahawks were surprised he was available.
“We did not think we would get him,’’ Schneider said. “We just took a shot. We were 28th so we figured, ‘Hey, let’s give it a shot.’’’
Gordon has dealt with myriad issues with substance abuse throughout his college and NFL career and reports indicated the Patriots grew frustrated at Gordon being late to meetings.
But Schneider said the Seahawks are confident they can get the most out of Gordon.
“We feel like we have the people in place that can help him,’’ Schneider said.
“We are going to give it a ride and we don’t expect him to come in and be a white knight and save the day. But we know he is a damn good football player and we’ll put him in the mix to compete with the other guys.’’
Schneider essentially confirmed that Wilson has pushed for the team to continue pursing receivers, saying: “I know Russell was very excited about it.”
Gordon was not on the sideline at CenturyLink Field for Sunday’s overtime victory over Tampa Bay but did post photos from inside the stadium to his Instagram page.
“Josh has been a tremendous receiver and I think it’s going to be just great adding him to the group,” Wilson said after the game. “We have so many great receivers already. So we’re excited to get him here this week. I’m sure he’ll do a great job.”
Seattle has eight receivers on its roster but two are rookies who have either not played or played sparingly and have yet to make a catch: fourth-round pick Gary Jennings and seventh-rounder John Ursua. Both were again inactive for Sunday’s game.
Seattle has struggled to find a consistent third receiver this season to work alongside Metcalf and Lockett as Jaron Brown has 14 receptions for 205 yards but also has had a few costly drops, while third-year vet David Moore battled an early shoulder injury and has 10 catches this year for 139 yards.
Wilson is in the midst of a season in which he is among the leaders for the MVP award, with 22 touchdowns against just one interception.
But Seattle also continues to run more than just about any team in the NFL, passing on 51.73% of plays, the fourth-lowest percentage in the league.
The 49ers rank at the bottom of the pass ratio, throwing it just 44% of the time. But adding Sanders provided a notable boost to San Francisco’s passing game, which helped result in four TD passes for Jimmy Garoppolo in a win Thursday at Arizona that kept SF essentially two games ahead of the Seahawks in the NFC West ahead of a showdown next week in Santa Clara, Calif.
Seattle’s other inactives for Sunday’s game were running back C.J. Prosise, safeties Lano Hill and Quandre Diggs and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson.