Posted by Josh Alper on August 2, 2018, 3:17 PM EDT

The Bengals released wide receiver Brandon LaFell on Thursday in a move that leaves A.J. Green as the only receiver on the roster who started his professional career before 2016.

The five members of that group with NFL experience have combined for 117 career catches, 76 of which belong to Tyler Boyd. He figures to work out of the slot and the outside receiver options have much smaller track records that underscore the risk in banking on them to fill out the offense with LaFell out of the picture.

Green said on Thursday that LaFell’s departure hurts, but thinks the younger players are capable of stepping up.

“Brandon was a guy who was great for our room — a veteran who knows how to be a pro, knows every position, could have plugged him in anywhere so losing him hurts, but it’s a business,” Green said, via the team’s website. “There are a lot of young guys here that are ready to play, but it sucks, me and Brandon became real close this last year. He was one of my friends off the field. It’s tough, but it’s a business and he knows the business side of it.”

In a perfect world for the Bengals, 2017 first-round pick John Ross will step into the void and become the playmaker that he never became in an injury-shortened rookie season. If not Ross, they’ll need someone else to prove Green right about their potential.