Ross will not have his fifth-year option picked up by the Bengals, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Ross has played just 24 of 48 eligible games since being drafted No. 9 overall by the Bengals in the 2017 NFL Draft due to a number of injuries, so it doesn't come as much surprise to see Ross fail to receive the fifth-year option. The speedy wide receiver has been productive during the infrequent times he's been on the field, but with the addition of 2020 second-round pick Tee Higgins and the expected healthy return of A.J. Green (ankle), it might be a tall task for Ross to see enough opportunities to break out in a meaningful way next season.
Ross is facing added competition for targets now that the Bengals added Tee Higgins with the first pick of the second round (33 overall) of the NFL Draft on Friday, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reports. Both Ross and A.J. Green are in contract years, plus the Bengals still have Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate as holdovers as well. Ross still could be a big part of the team's future, but he's not guaranteed to earn that chance now.
Ross had two catches for 42 yards in the Bengals' Week 17 win over the Browns. He finished the season with 28 catches for 506 yards and three touchdowns. Ross could take the leap next season with the Bengals holding the No. 1 pick and presumably eyeing Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow as their new franchise signal-caller. The wideout finished the season with a 20-plus-yard catch in each of his last four games and averaged 18.1 yards per reception in 2019. Ross hasn't yet demonstrated an ability to stay on the field, but if he can clear that hurdle, a big reward awaits.
Ross secured six of 13 targets for 84 yards in the Bengals' 38-35 overtime loss to the Dolphins on Sunday. He also rushed twice for six yards. Ross finished second on the team to Tyler Boyd in receptions, receiving yardage and targets, and although he couldn't find the end zone like his teammate, he did put together his best performance since returning from a stay on injured reserve due to a shoulder issue. Ross also logged his first two rush attempts of the campaign, and he'll look to build on Sunday's effort and head into the offseason with some momentum when the Bengals face the Browns in Week 17.
Ross caught two of three targets for 24 yards during Sunday's 34-13 loss to New England. Ross has now been held to two catches and under 30 yards in each of his first two games back after a shoulder injury. The junior speedster always offers hope of a big play, with a 19.0-yards-per-catch average this season, but he has just six targets in his two games back. Next up is a Miami defense that entered this week having surrendered 54 passes of at least 20 yards, 28th in the league, but it'd be a leap of faith to assume that Ross will get enough targets to make Miami pay.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||Los Angeles Chargers||3||16.13|
|12||11/29||New York Giants||29||26.00|
|3 Year Avg||39||16||239||3||12||14.94||39|