Three years ago, John Ross broke Chris Johnson's NFL Combine record by running the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds. But after a mostly unceremonious three-plus seasons in Cincinnati, Ross has asked the Bengals to trade him before the November 3 deadline, according to NFL Network's Mike Garofolo.
In 27 games with the Bengals, the 5-foot-11, 194-pound Ross has caught 51 passes for 733 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 14.4 yards per catch. Last season, he was on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier before a shoulder injury prematurely ended his campaign. Despite last year's success, Ross has been mostly forgotten within the Bengals' offense this season, as he has just two catches for 17 yards (on seven targets) while appearing in just three games.
While Ross has been languishing on the bench, fellow receivers Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins have become rookie quarterback Joe Burrow's go-to targets through the first six games of his career. Ross' inactivity, along with the fact that the Bengals did not pick up his fifth-year option this offseason, are the two most likely reasons why he has expressed his desire to finish the 2020 season with another team.
Here are seven potential landing spots for Ross If the Bengals decide to trade their 24-year-old receiver:
Considering the fact that they just signed Le'Veon Bell, the Chiefs have to be considered as a possible landing spot for Ross. And while their skill sets are different, Ross could become the next Sammy Watkins, a former first-round pick who struggled with his first team before finding his niche with Andy Reid in Kansas City.
Indianapolis is in need of another receiver to help open things up for T.Y. Hilton, who has yet to find the end zone through six games. Nevertheless, Hilton still leads the Colts with 20 receptions, while Zach Pascal is currently second on the team with 16 catches. Pascal's two touchdown catches is tied with tight end Mo Alie-Cox for the team lead. Rookie Michael Pittman and second-year wideout Parris Campbell have caught a combined 15 passes so far, and while both players may turn out to be good pros, the Colts could use an instant upgrade at receiver in order to stay in the thick of things in the AFC playoff race.
While Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward have proven to be solid receivers, the Eagles could still use another wideout given the injuries to DeSean Jackson and rookie Jalen Reagor. The lack of healthy receivers has taken its toll on Carson Wentz, who has thrown more interceptions (nine) than touchdown passes (eight) through six games.
Despite their 1-5 record, the Giants are still very much alive in the wide-open NFC East. The fact that the Giants are still in play for a playoff spot may lead to them seeking an upgrade at receiver before the trade deadline. New York certainly needs someone to help complement Darius Slayton, who has more than twice as many yards as the Giants' second leading receiver, tight end Evan Engram.
The Packers' lack of weapons at receiver was exposed this past Sunday, as Aaron Rodgers managed to throw for just 160 yards in Green Bay's 38-10 loss to the Buccaneers. While Davante Adams is back after missing two games with an injury, the Packers could still use another weapon with Allen Lazard expected to miss more time with his core muscle injury.
Bill Belichick has a long history of brining former high draft picks to New England. The addition of Ross could help bolster a Patriots passing attack that is currently just 25th in the NFL in yards gained. Ross could also help New England in the red zone, as the Patriots are currently 24th in the league in red zone efficiency.
After trading away Stefon Diggs this past offseason, Minnesota's passing game has yet to find a third reliable option behind Adam Thielen (32 catches, 415 yards and seven touchdowns) and rookie Justin Jefferson (28 catches, 537 yards and three touchdowns). Tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith have just 20 catches between them thus far, while receiver Olabisi Johnson has just five catches for 93 yards through six games. The addition of Ross could make things easier for quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has thrown a league-high 10 interceptions through six games.