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Patriots trading for John Ross makes zero senseRay Rauth

The Patriots are currently 2-3 and are third in the AFC East, and this has fans  nervous, that’s why when a guy like John Ross becomes available everybody jumps to “the Patriots need to trade for him”.

Patriots trading for John Ross makes zero sense

Isn’t it amazing how a mediocre wide receiver can look like a saviour when you are desperate to boost your receiving corps. The news dropped on Tuesday that John Ross had approached the Cincinnati Bengals and asked them to explore a trade. Naturally Patriots Twitter went a blaze demanding that Bill Belichick pick up the phone and make the call, and it left some people (myself included) baffled, because the Patriots have had a John Ross of their own for three seasons and they let him go in free agency.

If the Patriots were actually interested in making this trade and giving up draft capital, wouldn’t it have just made more sense to sign Phillip Dorsett at the beginning of the offseason? Just because a player doesn’t play for the Patriots, it doesn’t mean that he’s going to walk in and make the team better. We don’t have to look back any further than last season when Belichick gave up a second round draft pick for Mohamed Sanu. The day the trade was announced Patriots fans were already flexing the Patriots seventh Super Bowl ring. A Green Bay Packers fan looked at me and said “you guys are going to win the Super Bowl”, and when it was all done and over with, Moahmed Sanu finished his half a season tenure in New England with 207 yards and one touchdown on 26 catches. He caught one ball for eleven yards in the Patriots playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, and that’s why giving up anything but maybe a seventh round draft pick for John Ross makes zero sense.

During the 2018 and 2019 season, I found myself in constant arguments defending Phillip Dorsett, and trying to convince people that he deserved to be on the Patriots. Phillip Dorsett is a WR4, you can’t look at his Draft position and make an assumption that he should be a WR1 or WR2, the performance that Dorsett has put up over his career make him a WR4. That’s why I like Dorsett, he served a purpose on the team. For one week in 2019 he was in the perfect position. Julian Edelman was the Patriots WR1, Antonio Brown was WR2, Josh Gordon was WR3, and Phillip Dorsett was WR4. When Dorsett found himself in the WR3 position before losing his play time to undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers, it was obvious that Dorsett was not in the right spot, and he took unfair criticism from Patriots fans, when in reality they needed to direct their anger at Bill Belichick, and in fairness, they did that as well.    

Let’s start with the obvious and look at Ross’s total body of work, since being selected ninth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, he has collected 51 balls, 10 touchdowns, and 733 yards, In comparison, the Patriots  Meyers who has one catch in six games this season, has a career 27 catches and 366 yards of receiving in less than two seasons, so this may just be a shot in the dark, but wouldn’t it make more sense to see Josh McDaniels figure out a way to get him more involved in the game plan, and save draft capital for a better trade or the actual draft.

Numbers a side, because I can already hear the look at who has been throwing to Ross’ argument, the fact is, speedy or not, Ross is a WR4. The Patriots already have a WR4 in Demiere Byrd, the issue with the Patriots depth chart this season is, Byrd is in the WR3 position. By trading for John Ross the Patriots would essentially be replacing a WR4 with a WR4, and besides two days of GIFS and overreactions on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, we’d see virtually no difference in the Patriots passing game.

On Tuesday I talked about the Patriots being stuck in no mans land this season. They’re no where close to being considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but they are also nowhere close to a rebuild, and with the current roster, Belichick is set up to make a big splash in 2021, and giving up anything for John Ross would only hurt the Patriots current position. John Ross is not going to suddenly thrust the Patriots into Super Bowl conversations, and frankly the move would only make the news because it’s the Patriots.

Let’s also take the acclimation period into consideration. The only two receivers that we’ve seen join the Patriots mid season and show any signs of success is Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown. This more than likely happened because on the field they are legit WR1’s, and have the football knowledge and skill to keep up with the Patriots. John Ross has been a healthy scratch three times this season with the Bengals who have a rookie receiver in Joe Burrow leading the way. What is it about Ross’s game that makes people believe that he can join New England that’s going through their own growing pains, and become an actual contributor?

If the Patriots were going to make a move that would make them significantly better, they need to start at the tight end position. As I said on Tuesday, trading with the Cleveland Browns for David Njoku or the Indianapolis Colts for Jack Doyle would be the best place to start. If the Patriots were going to make a second move for a receiver, then they could address the WR2 position and look at a player like the Houston Texans Kenny Stills. Stills is not a game breaker by any means, but the Patriots would be able to push Byrd down the depth chart, and Stills could eat up some valuable snaps. A combination of second tier tight end like Njoku or Doyle, combined with a third two receiver like Stills, should put the Patriots on track towards competing in the playoffs. John Ross on the other hand is not the answer.

The Patriots are currently 2-3 and are third in the AFC East, and this has fans who don’t truly remember the dark ages in New England very nervous, that’s why when a guy like John Ross becomes available everybody jumps to “the Patriots need to trade for him”. The Patriots need to get better sooner rather than later, but Belichick also needs to take his time and make sure he makes the right decisions. The other piece that could throw a wrench into all our plans is, the teams that New England wants to trade with, have to be open to moving on from that player and taking what Belichick is willing to give them.

The Patriots are currently 2-3 and are third in the AFC East, and this has fans nervous, that’s why when a guy like John Ross becomes available everybody jumps to “the Patriots need to trade for him”.

Last modified: October 21, 2020
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