Regardless of what Derrick Mason decides to do, the Ravens are still in the market for a wide receiver — even at this late stage, with only a few days left before the players start gathering at the Days Inn/Westminster.
By the way, I’m still hearing from members of the Ravens organization their “gut feeling” is Mason will play in Baltimore in ’09.
I’ve said that ever since I first heard about 85′s “retirement” Monday a week ago. So…it’s not a shock to me that people at The Bellagio think Mason’s going to play in purple this season. It was a fairly easy ploy to see through. After all, I’m a dummy and I figured it out rather quickly. What’s that tell you?
Now, on to the more pressing need…another veteran wide receiver to help Joe Flacco and bolster the team’s already shaky wide receiver corps. Without Mason, the pass catching group is probably a “4″ with a potential to be a “6″. If Mason returns, they could be a “7″ or maybe an “8″. If Mason returns — and they add a decent vet — the problems at wide-out could be solved.
They remain uninterested in Brandon Marshall, the only “high quality” receiver who could be had at this juncture of the off-season. But Marshall’s baggage (a lot) and the price required to pry him away from Denver (too high) keeps him from being a serious consideration in Baltimore.
Enter Drew Bennett.
My purple feathered birds in a tree tell me Bennett is the team’s “preferred choice”. But – and this is a relatively large But – he’s only their preferred choice if comes to town healthy and passes the physical. He’s telling folks around the league he’s fine and in good working order, by the way. The Ravens hopes that’s true.
One staffer told me he has a lot of the things they like: size, smarts and a good, solid professional. Another person in Owings Mills who knows Bennett well says “he’d be a good fit in the AFC North…he likes good, hard, physical football. He’d be a solid addition. As long as he’s healthy.”
It’s fair to note, of course, that he only played in one game with the Rams last season. In fact, former Baltimore News American sportswriter Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch dubbed Bennett “one of the worst free agent signings in St. Louis sports history” after his ’08 campaign.
Prior to St. Louis, Bennett was in Tennessee and was noted for his physical, punishing style of play.
A lot has to happen (right) for Bennett to sign in Baltimore for ’09, but it looks like he’s the front runner at this point.