LA Rams: Six under-the-radar offensive free agents
By Bret Stuter
Deep threat WR
The cost of getting a top wide receiver who can threaten defenses is way out of the Rams price range for 2021. But if you consider under-the-radar receiver like Cincinnati Bengals free agent WR John Ross, you find yourself in a rather promising scenario. Let’s start with the quarterback. Matthew Stafford is very adept at extending plays, throwing off-schedule and out of position, and looking for a deep target.
5-foot-11 194-pound receiver John Ross is eager to shed the ‘bust’ and ‘fragile’ labels that have plagued him at Cincinnati since the Bengals drafted him ninth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. His best year statistically was 2019, when he started eight games. In that year, he caught 28 of the 56 passes thrown his way for 506 yards and three touchdowns. It was also the year that he put up 198 yards after the catch.
Ross is a greyhound. He runs very fast and when he looks up for the ball, it needs to be readily catchable. Stafford is a surgeon. He can throw the ball a very long way and with pinpoint accuracy. Now, let’s see what happens when we mix the two together?
That’s right. Stafford will make full use of Ross, much like his Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Browning did in college. If you recall, Ross suffered an injury that ended his season in 2015. The following year, he roared like a lion in the Huskies offense, putting up 1150 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. That same effect, to a lesser degree, can happen in the NFL if Ross connects with Stafford in training camp.
Ross is coming off his well-paid rookie contract. From now on, he’ll need to earn his deal. That means that the Rams could get him for a fraction of the cost to the Bengals, and could get much more production out of him.