Chances of Mason’s return fade a bit

Street Talk Chances of Mason’s return fade a bit

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OWINGS MILLS — Now that the Baltimore Ravens have landed wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the prospects of Derrick Mason returning have decreased.

The Ravens were discussing a two-year contract with Mason before the launch of free agency Friday. However, the Ravens don’t have a sense of urgency at this point about bringing back Mason because of the acquisition of Boldin.

Mason’s return hasn’t been ruled out, but the Ravens no longer have that at the top of their agenda. And the money that could have gone to Mason has been allocated to Boldin with a four-year, $28 million package that includes $10 million in guaranteed money and $25 million in new money.

A 36-year-old unrestricted free agent, Mason decided to test free agency and it has been quiet for him so far with no visits or offers. The Ravens’ leading receiver for the past five season, Mason has been rumored to be on the radar of the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots.

However, heavy interest hasn’t materialized.

While quarterback Joe Flacco was getting acquainted with Boldin on Saturday at Kurt Warner’s flag-football tournament in Arizona, he lobbied for the Ravens to re-sign Mason.

“My understanding is that Derrick wants to come back,” Flacco said during an NFL Network interview. “It’s up to what happens with the guys upstairs. We love Derrick.

“He’s been a huge asset for myself and why we’re such a successful football team. You know my feelings on it, we just have to see what happens.”

Could the Ravens still fit Mason into their budget since it’s an uncapped year?

Yes, but he may have to wait, perhaps as long as until after the draft, and be flexible in terms of his financial expectations. His agents have maintained their silence since free agency began.

Plus, Mason would have to adjust to becoming the second wideout behind Boldin.

At 6-foot-1, 217 pounds, Boldin is much bigger than Mason . However, they have similar styles in terms of being hard-nosed possession receivers who don’t create a lot of separation downfield.

The Ravens are expected to address the wide receiver position in the draft.

Having Boldin and Mason while grooming a young wide receiver could be a good situation.

Meanwhile, the Ravens are looking for help at other positions while operating under the restrictions of being a Final Eight team.

The Ravens could possibly lose defensive end Dwan Edwards in free agency.

He’s visiting the Denver Broncos after taking a visit with the Seattle Seahawks first.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said during the NFL scouting combine that Edwards is a priority.

What could preclude him from earning big dollars is his health history since he had a spinal fusion procedure two years ago that could make it tough for him to pass a physical.

If the Ravens lose Edwards, there are some fallback options out there.

That includes Tyler Brayton, Reggie Hayward and Jared DeVries.

The Ravens haven’t pursued free agent cornerback Leigh Bodden.

They were definitely interested in blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, but he signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Bears that included $7 million in guaranteed money.

That leaves some other possibilities in free agency like Chris Baker, Alge Crumpler, Reggie Kelly and Ben Watson.

And it’s a strong draft for tight ends with the Ravens meeting with several of them at the combine.

The main thing the Ravens need is a second tight end that can block, a quality they haven’t had on the roster since Quinn Sypniewski. Sypniewski missed the past two seasons with serious knee problems and was cut after failing his physical.

NOTES: Because of the Ravens’ trading for defensive end Marques Douglas from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago, they don’t have a seventh-round draft pick. They’re expected to pick up one or more compensatory selections stemming from their free agent losses last year, linebacker Bart Scott, center Jason Brown and safety Jim Leonhard. … Wide receiver Kelley Washington hasn’t taken any visits yet, but has drawn interest from the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills. … There hasn’t been any interest at this point in the Ravens’ restricted free agents, including starting offensive tackle Jared Gaither (first round) and backup quarterback Troy Smith (fifth round).

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson


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