Though the New England Patriots’ offense has shown plenty of life with Cam Newton under center, the veteran quarterback certainly would benefit from some extra help at wide receiver.
One NFL analyst has an idea.
In a column published Thursday, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell floated the idea of the Patriots sending a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to the Cincinnati Bengals for wideout John Ross.
After conceding that Ross has had injury and consistency issues his entire career, Barnwell explained why he could be a fit for New England.
“The Patriots, on the other hand, could use some downfield speed to punish opposing teams that want to sneak a safety into the box and defend against Cam Newton,” Barnwell wrote. “Damiere Byrd fills that role now, but Ross has more upside and would come with little risk. The Pats would owe Ross a prorated base salary of just under $2 million over the rest of the season, and if he does enough to earn a contract elsewhere, New England would be able to net a compensatory pick for losing him in free agency.”
As Barnwell lays out, it’s about as low risk a move as could be for the Patriots, especially if they would only need to part with a late-round pick.
Ross, 24, is the exact type of player Bill Belichick has a history of acquiring and guiding to a higher level. There was a reason the Bengals used the ninth overall pick on Ross three years ago: He’s talented, even if it hasn’t entirely translated to the NFL.
Ross never has played more than 13 games in a season, though. In that 13-game campaign two years ago, he reeled in 21 passes on 58 targets for 210 yards with seven touchdowns.
Ross has not played since Week 2, but he was removed from the Bengals’ injury report Wednesday after dealing with an illness.