It sounds as if free agent wide receiver John Ross will find a new employer soon. The No. 9 overall pick of the Bengals in the 2017 draft, Ross spent the 2021 campaign with the Giants and is still recovering from a knee injury that he sustained towards the end of the season.
As such, Ross will begin meeting with teams around the start of the regular season next month, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (via Twitter). He is expected to be fully healthy by that time, and a number of teams have remained in “consistent contact” with the Washington product.
Injuries have been the prevailing theme of Ross’ career. He possesses blinding speed, but due to various ailments and his inability to impress then-head coach Marvin Lewis, Ross played in just one game in his rookie year in Cincinnati. Though he started 10 games in 2018, he managed only 21 catches for 210 yards, and after a hot start to 2019, he missed another eight games due to injury.
The Bengals made the easy call to decline Ross’ fifth-year option in May 2020, and in his final season in the Queen City, Ross was a healthy scratch for a number of games and requested a trade as a result of his diminished role. Cincy could not find any takers, and Ross eventually landed on IR with a foot injury.
He signed with the Giants in March 2021, and he once again missed time for health reasons. A hamstring malady kept him out of the first few games of the season, and the above-mentioned knee trouble sidelined him towards the end of the year. Still, clubs apparently remain tantalized by his speed and big-play ability, which will buy the 26-year-old another opportunity.
Ross has indeed shown flashes of his potential. In 2019, he caught 28 balls for 506 yards — good for a 18.1 yards-per-reception rate — and in his first and only season with Big Blue, he tallied 11 catches for 224 yards, which represents a career-best 20.4 YPR average. His 43.4% career catch percentage is quite low, but that is largely a function of the routes he is asked to run. If he can ever stay healthy for a full season, his abilities as a bonafide home run threat would be a welcome addition to any number of WR rooms.
Although Fowler did not specify which clubs have expressed interest, the Colts, Cowboys, Packers, and Ravens are just a few of the teams that could still use receiving help.