WORTH THE GAMBLE

Let's discuss why the Texans should sign Josh Gordon if reinstated

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Josh Gordon, an All-Pro receiver in 2013, filed for reinstatement last Wednesday seeking another chance in the NFL. In December, the league suspended the 29-year-old wide receiver for violating its substance-abuse policy for the fifth time since 2013. In an interview with his lawyer, Adam Kenner, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network announced that Gordon's most recent relapse in 2019 was due to the death of his brother. Since that time, Gordon has installed the right team around him to make sure he stays on the right path.

If the league grants his request, Gordon will enter the free agency pool as an unrestricted free agent. He spent the 2019 season as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, recording seven receptions for 139 yards (19.9 AVG) in five games prior to his suspension.

Gordon is still one of the most gifted players in the league despite playing only 63 games in a span of eight seasons. He has tallied a career 4,252 reception yards (17.2 AVG) on 247 catches and 20 touchdowns, after the Cleveland Browns selected the Baylor prodigy in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Nearly all 32 teams could use Gordon's on-field talent to enhance their roster, but only a handful should risk adding the 6-foot-3 wide receiver given his off-field troubles. Of all the teams who should look to acquire the low-risk-high-reward receiver, the Houston Texans should be near the top of the list. Joining his hometown town team may be enough to keep the Houston native in good measures both on and off the field, while contributing to the Texans potential success in 2020.

Houston lost a lot this offseason by trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. Not only did they lose arguably the league's best receiver, but their No. 1 target since 2014. Head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien did a reasonable job rebuilding the receiving core, but the additions of Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks may not be enough to fill the absence left by Hopkins' jettison.

In 2019, Cobb and Cooks recorded a combined 1,411 receiving yards (14.5 AVG) on 97 catches with five trips to the end zone. When compared to Hopkins, the four-time Pro-Bowler pulled down 104 catches for 1,165 receiving yards (11.2 AVG) and seven touchdowns in what was considered a "down season" last year.

If the Texans were to sign Gordon, he would be another substantial option who can further O'Brien's attempt to replace Hopkins. As a deep threat receiver who can create plays in double-coverage, Gordon possesses the skill set that would make him Houston's most talented wideout, and one that complements the play style of Deshaun Watson.

In his lone All-Pro season in 2013, Gordon showcased flashes of his high ceiling with 1,646 receiving yards (18.9 AVG) on 87 receptions and nine touchdowns in 14 games. That same season, he became the first player in league history to record 200 or more receiving yards in back-to-back games as a member of the Browns. Even in the most troublesome years of his career, Gordon was still a force to be reckoned with while on the field. Prior to his suspension, he posted a total of 1,007 receiving yards (16.2 AVG) on 60 catches in 17 games, during his two-year stint as a member of the New England Patriots.

With D-Hop out of the picture, Will Fuller has the opportunity to become Houston's No. 1 receiver. He has ingrained himself as the Texans' best playmaker averaging 14.3 yards per catch in 42 career games. Unfortunately, his ability to stay healthy makes it unenviable for Fuller to play a full 16-game season. Since 2017, he has only appeared in 28 out of a possible 48 games played due to a myriad of injuries.

There are also health concerns surrounding Kenny Stills (hamstring) and Brandin Cooks (concussion) — as the two receivers batted recurring injuries that limited their on-field production in 2019.

Health is the most vital concern surrounding the Texans' receiving core next season. And at this stage of his career, Houston should be willing to pay no more than the expected $2.0 million to sign Gordon as an affordable insurance policy. If either of the Texans' four receivers misses a significant amount of time due to injuries, Gordon can fill a void that will be a daunting task for the likes of Isaiah Coulter, Keke Coutee and Andre Carter.

With the amount of time missed due to multiple suspensions, Gordon may never live up to the high expectations he set during his first two seasons in the league. However, when mentally stable, he has been a constant nightmare for the opposing teams' secondary throughout his career. And if given the opportunity to join the likes of Cobb, Cooks, Fuller and Stills, the Texans will have multiple weapons heading into the new season while helping Gordon re-establish himself as one of the league's most prolific receivers.

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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