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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-04-09

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-04-09

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-04-09
The Ravens are "entertaining" the possibility of giving an extension to wide receiver Derrick Mason, owner Steve Bisciotti said.

Mason, 35, has been the team's only dependable receiver, leading the Ravens in catches for three of his four seasons here. He is entering the final year of his five-year, $20 million contract.

"In these negotiations, it's (general manager) Ozzie Newsome's job to make sure that something that benefits Derrick also benefits us," Bisciotti said. "If the numbers are right -- and Derrick certainly doesn't look like he's slowing down -- then we could sign him to an extension and it would be cap friendly for us."

It was only last month when Mason pushed hard for a contract extension. He intimated that he would want to be released if he doesn't receive one.

His agent has approached the Ravens about a new contract, according to Mason.

"I don't know if I'm going to be back," Mason told the NFL Network.

He added, "So if we can get that deal done, then that will be great. But if not, then we have to explore other options after that. I don't know where this thing is going to end, but I think I've earned the right by what I've done on the field - and off the field - for the last four years with the Ravens."

Bisciotti said he was initially surprised by Mason's comments because it's not usually the veteran's style.

"We've always appreciated that Derrick goes out in that yeoman-like fashion and gets his 85 catches a year," Bisciotti said. "Yet the minute I hear it, you realize why wouldn't he do this. He doesn't want to be one year further along, be a free agent and wonder where he's going to end up.

"I think he loves Baltimore. He's happy here. It's only his second city, and I think he would like to just make it two cities. He's older. He's got kids. And he wants to know that he doesn't have to pack up and move at 36 years old next year. It may have surprised me because I didn't see it coming. Once he said it, I didn't take offense to it. He made his intentions known, and I think he got Ozzie's attention."

Over the past two seasons, Mason has caught 183 passes. No other Raven has more than 89 receptions during that span.

The questions with Mason are his age and his ability to consistently stretch the field.

Only three receivers (Jerry Rice, Jimmy Smith and Joey Galloway) have recorded 1,000-yard seasons at 36 or older. Mason also ranked 42nd last season in yards per catch (13.0).

The biggest problem for the Ravens is they have few options going forward.

Their top three wideouts -- Mason, Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams -- are all scheduled to become free agents at the end of the 2009 season. But none have been more valuable than Mason. Since he left the Tennessee Titans to join the Ravens, he has recorded the three highest single-season totals for catches (103 in 2007, 86 in 2005 and 80 in 2008).

"I have one more year left on my deal, and I want to play more than one year," Mason said. "For a player, one year is no security. No security whatsoever. I think I've earned the right to go to management and let them know that I want to play more than just one year."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 9, 2009

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