Help at wide receiver should be at or near the top of the New England Patriots’ priority list as the NFL trade deadline approaches.
One potential option: Cincinnati Bengals wideout John Ross.
The lightning-fast Ross was drafted ninth overall in 2017 but has played sparingly for the lowly Bengals this season, sitting out three consecutive games as healthy scratch before logging just one snap in Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Ross now wants out, according to a report Tuesday from NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo.
“I had heard that he approached the team saying, ‘Hey, I need a fresh start,’ “ Garafolo reported on NFL Network. “Well, I called Ross’s agent, Brad Cicala, (on Monday). He confirmed he had conversations with the Bengals about a possible trade recently, but those talks didn’t go very far. Cicala said Ross is frustrated with his lack of playing time. …
“So we’ll see where it goes. We’ve got two weeks until the trade deadline, so perhaps something does happen with Ross. Nothing right now, but he is wanting a fresh start. That much is pretty clear.”
Ross hasn’t lived up to his lofty draft slot and has dealt with numerous injuries in his career, but he did put up solid numbers when healthy last season, tallying 506 receiving yards on 28 catches (18.1 yards per) in just eight games. The 25-year-old also caught seven touchdown passes in 2018.
A lack of production from the receiver position has been a major issue for New England’s offense thus far.
Since their Seattle shootout in Week 2, Patriots wideouts have combined for just 26 catches on 49 targets for 393 yards and one touchdown over three games — an average of 8.6 catches and 131 yards per contest for the position group as a whole.
In Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, the Patriots’ top three of Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman totaled five catches on 12 targets for 46 yards and no scores. Harry was held catch-less, and 34-year-old Edelman — who’s been slowed by a knee injury throughout the season — managed just two for 8 yards on six targets.
Ross wouldn’t be an immediate fix — and, given his spotty track record, shouldn’t be worth more than a late-round pick — but could provide a boost to a unit that desperately needs one.
The trade deadline is Nov. 3.