Josh Gordon reportedly signs restricted tender with Patriots: Here's what that potentially means for his future

Although there are still a lot of questions surrounding Josh Gordon's future in the NFL, we do know one thing for sure: If he's allowed to play in 2019, it will definitely be with the New England Patriots

According to ESPN.com, Gordon officially signed his restricted free agent tender on Tuesday, which means he's now under contract with the Patriots for the 2019 season. Of course, just because he's under contract doesn't necessarily mean he'll be playing. 

Before that can happen, Gordon has to be reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The Patriots receiver was hit with an indefinite suspension back in December for violating his conditional reinstatement under the NFL's substance abuse policy. 

The suspension came after Gordon had already played 11 games with the Patriots. After being traded from Cleveland to New England in September, Gordon caught on quickly with the Patriots, catching 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns during the 2018 season. However, Gordon didn't play in the team's final two games of the regular season due to the suspension. 

Back in March, Goodell was asked about the possibility of Gordon getting reinstated for 2019, and it appears it's not something the commissioner is going to take into consideration until he feels Gordon is back on the "right track." 

"The first thing right now is the focus on Josh himself as a young man and what he needs to do to get his life on the right track," Goodell said, via the Boston Herald. "That's what our focus is. We have resources supporting that. That's our hope -- to make sure he gets on the right track. Once he gets on the right track, we'll get to that place (of suspension discussion). I think right now, he's had a complete focus on, 'I've got to keep myself off the field in the right place before I can get back on the field.'"

Gordon was actually set to be a free agent this offseason until the Patriots placed a restricted tender on him back in March. The second-round tender meant that the Patriots would have received a second-round pick as compensation if any team would have signed the receiver away.

Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Gordon's one-year deal is worth up to $3.095 million, but that's only if he plays in all 16 games. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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