Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ravens should let Mason test the market


Some Ravens fans are concerned that unrestricted free agent Derrick Mason will get away and given the current composition of the team’s receiving corps the prevailing feeling is, “we can’t afford to lose him.”

Recently Mason said he wants a multi-year deal. A month ago he was retiring, then he was 75% sure he would quit and then it was 50-50.

Posturing?

Who knows? Who cares?

The Ravens should let Mason test the market. Let him see how many teams want to give a 36 year old receiver a multi-year deal. And to make that challenge even more difficult let’s see how many teams with Super Bowl potential are willing to give him a two year contract.

After all we are supposed to take D-Mase at his word right?

Didn’t he say he wanted a ring before he retired?

Are the Dolphins going to deliver one?

Now that’s funny.

Of the Final 8 teams (Ravens, Saints, Colts, Jets, Vikings, Cowboys, Chargers, Cardinals) do you think any will give Mase a multi-year deal?

There is a time to LET things happen and a time to MAKE things happen.

Let him go and pick up a couple of free steak dinners from prospective suitors.

He’ll be back and humbled by the lack of demand for his services.

Just ask Ray Lewis…

11 comments :

Mark Simone said...

I agree with most of what you wrote here, with one exception...and it's a big one. I don't think he cares as much about getting that ring as he used to. I think, with all the talk he's had over the past 8 months, which included 2 seperate talks of retirement, that he has accepted the fact that he may not get a ring and he's ok with that. Would he like to win a ring? Absolutely! He knows first hand how difficult it is to win a Super Bowl even when playing on a great team.

If he wants to play another 2 years, it's because he feels he can still compete and wants to play and earn the paycheck. He doesn't "need" the money, but when his career is over, his opportunity to make the kind of money he's making in the NFL will likely be behind him. If the Ravens give him the chance to talk to other teams, I wouldn't be surpised if he went to a team with a lot of young players to bring veteran leadership to an organization that isn't likely to compete for a Super Bowl.

I say, in an uncapped year and with the possibility of a lockout in 2011, just sign the guy. We need him this year!

Anonymous said...

2 years/$8 Million, with $4 Million guaranteed seems reasonable for Mason. He averaged somewhere between $4-5 Mil in his last contract, he delivered way beyond expectations, has proven very durable, and hasn't shown signs of slowing down yet. Just do it, Ozzie!

Anonymous said...

TL, I dont disagree with you often but I am going to have to disagree this time around. I think a playoff contender would be willing to give Mason the 2 or 3 year deal that he's asking for, if the money is right. They'd get a quality wideout without giving up draft picks and without giving up Larry Fitzgerald money. The thing that scared teams away from Lewis is the 20 million dollar price tag rumors that were floating around prior to free agency starting. Mason would be the best wr on the open market and he's a quality vet. I know Terrible Owens is a free agent as well but his production really dropped this past season, Mason's has not (and he's played with some bad QB's during his career) and Mason also doesnt have the rep of being a locker room cancer like Owens.

Tony Lombardi said...

Something else to keep in mind regarding Mason...

He dropped several passes down the stretch last year and that could be a sign of fatigue. I'd hate to see the Ravens eat up $4 million or so of cap space when the cap returns (most likely in 2011) with a then 38 year old receiver, perhaps preventing them from making a key roster move.

My opinion is that they need to try him on a year by year basis.

Jerry B said...

He may not be valuable to another team, but lets face facts, until we're able to upgrade at the receiver spot, he's all we have! That in and of itself makes him a valuable commodity.......here!

Scott said...

I can only recall one pass that Mason didn't catch (the second Steelers game) that he should be ridiculed for. Other than that, the guy has solid hands and can get open. 36, 38, as long as he performs the way that he has, I say give him the deal. If there are dropped passes that I am not remembering that is probably because I can still recall some nasty shots that the guy took last year and still held onto the ball (the first Pats game and the Lions game in particular).

If you want to talk about taking up roster/cap space, lets take a look at Mark Clayton, who as far as I can tell has been pretty much useless since we drafted him. Yet, I'm 90% sure he will start next season and remain as the #2 receiver. All I can figure is that we are THAT desperate at receiver.

Mark Simone said...

Tony...don't you think that if we sign him to a 2yr deal and he shows continued signs of fatigue, we can release him before a capped season begins in 2011, right?

Tony Lombardi said...

Scott, I wouldn't say I was "ridiculing" him...just critiquing. Mason had 7 drops on the season according to stats.statesman.com. That number is four behind league leaders Dwayne Bowe and Vernon Davis, each with 11.

And Scott to your point...Cutting him in 2011, yes if the contract was structured properly the team could cut him with little to no cap impact. However the guess here is that Mason will seek some form of bonus (at least now).

My point isn't to let him go, just to go and test the market for a sanity check, just as the team did with Ray Lewis last year.

Lewis wanted $20million in bonus money. He ended up with 12. I think a similar course of events will unfold for Mason but only if the team discusses this with him, encourages him to test the market with the understanding that he gives them a chance to match.

This will be one of the many interesting things to take place in this very important and unique offseason.

Scott said...

Unfortunately, I think the difference between Mason testing the market and Lewis testing the market is that someone will sign Mason to what he is looking for because he still produces. There are a number of teams that could use key help at receiver (Bengals and Jets are the first that come to mind) that would be willing to sign him. I don't predict a sharp decline in his abilities, and we just can't afford to lose him right now. The 36 year old guy is the best receiver on our team.

I just have a feeling that if we let him test the market then he is going to get picked up somewhere and we will be left with, well... Mark Clayton.

On the other hand, I wouldn't mind seeing Ozzie and the group just start fresh. Let Mason walk, cut Williams, start Stallworth, Harper and Riley, move Clayton to the slot, cross fingers, say a prayer, and see what happens.

Jerry said...

Scott, last time I checked Ray Lewis was a first team Pro Bowler. No offense but your argument to support Mason is rather weak and wishy-washy.

Scott said...

Jerry, there was no knock to Ray Lewis intended. However, when Ray was testing the market there were far less teams clamoring for an established middle linebacker with a giant price tag than there are teams now who desire/need established receivers for a moderate investment.

Ray didn't sign with another team because the need for him didn't outweigh the cost of obtaining him. The same is not the case now with receivers. There are playoff teams that need the production of someone like Mason and I think would be willing to work out something better than what we are offering.

Mason could test the market and come limping back licking his wounds, or he could sign with someone else, which personally I feel would leave us pretty much screwed at receiver for next year. But that's just my opinion, and I think we should give him what he wants.