Bengals To Decline John Ross’ Fifth-Year Option

This won’t come as much of a surprise, but the Bengals have declined wide receiver John Ross‘ fifth-year option. Ross will therefore become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020 season.

As a 2017 draft choice, Ross’ fifth-year option would have been guaranteed for injury only, but given his injury history, that was not a gamble Cincinnati was willing to take. Plus, as a top-10 pick in the 2017 draft, Ross’ option would have been worth a whopping $15.68MM, which would not have made sense for the team even if Ross had managed to stay completely healthy throughout his first three years in the league.

The Washington product was brought in to serve as a speed merchant and to add some sizzle to a passing offense that had become a middling unit despite the presence of A.J. Green. That did not happen. Instead, he failed to impress head coach Marvin Lewis in training camp in 2017, and between injuries and generally uninspiring play in practice, Ross played in only three games as a rookie and did not record a catch.

Though he started 10 games in 2018, he managed only 21 catches for 210 yards — which was a disappointment in terms of both overall output and yards-per-catch average — and after a hot start to 2019, he missed another eight games due to injury. The Bengals selected promising Clemson product Tee Higgins with the first pick of the second round in this year’s draft, and they are clearly preparing for life without Ross (which will probably look strikingly similar to life with Ross).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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13 comments on “Bengals To Decline John Ross’ Fifth-Year Option

    • braveshomer

      I’m not sure John Ross change of scenery is what will help…He’s just injury prone, too fast for his own body to handle lol

      • davidkaner

        Sometimes WR have blazing speed but can’t get open or run good routes. The great ones get open and make catches regardless of running a 4.6. A Boldin wasn’t fast or even quick but he could get open and caught everything. Give me a guy who can run routes, get open and make catches. Juedy was the best all around WR coming out and he will be ROY if they use him right. WR that go in the top 10 need to have it all not just speed. Poor draft analysis has been Cincinnati downfall for years.

        • braveshomer

          yeah they went all Al Davis and fell in love with the fastest receiver at the combine a la Darrius Heyward-Bey and many others lol

    • king beas

      With reagor Goodwin and desean Jackson the eagles don’t need another sub 6 foot speed threat

      • DarkSide830

        i just wanna get someting for Whiteside, that’s all. this guy seems to have okay numbers so might as well go for it.

  1. afsooner02

    When you draft a guy that can run fast but catch well….Howard-Bey before him

  2. Simmons>Russ

    Trade him to the Niners for Solomon Thomas.

    Niners add another speed receiver when fit. Hopefully he can turn it around and form a good trio with Samuel and Ayiuk which would be a solid young WR core. If not the 9ers still have Hurd and Pettis, but if Ross can find some form and stay fit his speed would be great for that offence. In return bengals get a DE again with high potential that also kinda needs to change scenery and hopefully improve

  3. jessaumodesto

    Can teams stop drafting simply based on a 40 time and actually draft good players?

  4. rdsfan05

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cincinnati resign John Ross but the reason for the declining of the 5th year is John Ross isn’t worth the 16 million he was prepared to make in that option year.

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