Might the Cleveland Browns' front office force coach Rob Chudzinski to go back on his word to Josh Gordon?
Gordon revealed two weeks ago that Chudzinski texted him to assure the wide receiver that he will not be traded. General manager Michael Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner are not actively shopping their star players, but that doesn't mean they won't listen to offers.
People informed of the Browns' thinking told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on Monday that they have talked to other teams about Gordon, with the asking price of a second-round draft pick in return.
The receiver-needy San Francisco 49ers, in particular, have shown interest in Gordon. A deal now is considered unlikely, however, with Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree nearing returns from their injuries, per Rapoport.
Manningham is eligible to be activated from the physically unable to perform list in two weeks. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Crabtree might return from Achilles tendon surgery as soon as mid-November.
Any Gordon trade will be tricky for the first-place Browns. He arguably is the most gifted player on Cleveland's offense, with potential to emerge as a top-10 NFL receiver. He's also a suspension risk with a reputation of running with the wrong crowd and possessing both an entitlement mentality and a poor work ethic.
It doesn't help that Lombardi is on record as labeling Gordon a waste of a second-round pick in 2012.
Even if Lombardi and Banner view Gordon as too volatile to build around, they are unlikely to field an offer from a team willing to overlook that excessive baggage while meeting Cleveland's asking price.