Why Ravens Passed On Derrick Mason

CHARLOTTE NC - NOVEMBER 21: Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens talks to his wide receivers Derrick Mason #85 and Anquan Boldin #81 during a timeout against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 21 2010 in Charlotte North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

It appears that the New York Jets will be announcing shortly that they have signed former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason. In preparation, the Jets just released WR Jericho Cotchery, as they already have Santonio Holmes and Plexico Burress under contract and adding Mason would seem to make Cotchery the odd man out.

Once the dust clears, it will be made public that Mason's contract amount and length involved no big numbers, and if that is the case, then why didn't he return to Baltimore? The theory that I am going with is relatively simple, and that is the Ravens did not want him back. Make no bones about it, QB Joe Flacco may have indeed wanted D-Mase to return to his receiving corps, as he has been his go-to target for all three years that Flacco has been in the NFL.

However, that is precisely the reason team officials do not want Mason back in the fold. The Ravens brain-trust want Flacco to further develop and cement the bond between him and Anquan Boldin and to be perfectly frank, Derrick would get in the way. During the few practices the Ravens have already had, it is clear that the passing offense is being based on Flacco throwing in Boldin's direction as often as possible.

Without Mason as an option, Flacco will be looking at Boldin as his initial option, then perhaps Malcom Floyd or Torrey Smith, as well as TE Ed Dickson (or Dennis Pitta) and of course, hs favorite check-down option, Ray Rice. Mason was money as a target for those patented five-yard curl patterns, which he ran as good if not better than anyone in the game and had great hands as well.

The difference is that every time that Boldin makes the reception, he is a threat to break tackles and add significant yardage after the catch, neither of which Mason can do. In order to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, that threat needs to be more obvious and effective. The combination of Boldin, a tall threat (Floyd), a speedster (Smith) as well as a match-up option (Dickson) and the always available dump off (Rice), will only make Flacco more effective and the Ravens passing offense more dangerous.

Derrick Mason just didn't fit in the Ravens plans as a key ingredient to this recipe for success.

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