The New York Jets have decided to trade veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans for a conditional 7th-round draft picks in the 2012 draft.
Mason, who signed with the Jets this offseason after being cut by the Baltimore Ravens, will head to a Texans team with a depleted receiving corps that was desperate for some help.
The Jets used Mason very sparingly last week in their loss to the New England Patriots, as rookie Jeremy Kerley took most of the snaps as the third wideout and looked very good, catching his first career touchdown.
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said that there were a lot of factors that went into the decision to part ways with Mason, citing his slow start on the field and the development of Kerley.
“Things just didn’t work out on the field. He didn’t play to the level we had hoped,” Tannenbaum said. “His on-field performance, combined with the chance to get a draft pick [as compensation], and the emergence of Jeremy Kerley led to this decision.”
Tannenbaum indicated that Mason would still be a Jet had the Texans not called him, but they decided to pull the trigger because it made sense for both teams.
“Rex and I had a good conversation with [Mason] last night,” Tannenbaum said. “He’s a professional, and I think he’ll do really well in Houston.”
The decision to part ways with the 37-year-old Mason is a indicator of the confidence the Jets have in their young wideouts, specifically Kerley and Logan Payne.
Kerley, a 5th-round draft pick out of TCU this past April, has really come on strong lately despite a offseason shortened by the lockout and not a lot of in-game reps until this past week.
As the new number 3 receiver, the 22-year-old Kerley will probably see a lot of playing time on offense, both as a receiver and in the “Wild Frog” package, the Jets new-look version of the Wildcat.
Kerley wore number 85 as a TCU Horned Frog and he wore it in training camp until Mason was signed. The rookie voluntarily gave the number to the veteran, although it’s possibly he will switch back now that Mason is no longer a Jet.
Logan Payne, on the other hand, has not seen the field at all this season. A special teams ace, the 26-year-old Payne has bounced around the NFL since going undrafted out of Minnesota in 2007.
Payne had a great camp this summer, but broke his wrist late in the preseason and has not practice since. The Jets have kept a spot for him on the active roster all season, indicating they expect him to be back relatively soon.
Mike Tannenbaum has never been afraid to make bold moves to try to make the team better. He had to make the tough choices to replace Thomas Jones with LaDainian Tomlinson and replace Alan Faneca with Matt Slauson last year.
Those decisions, panned initially, turned out to be excellent moves that improved the team. If he doesn’t think Derrick Mason is a fit for the Jets, I admire his no-nonsense approach to get rid of him less than six weeks into the season.
It’s a bold move, but if he believes it’s the right move, I trust his judgment. Kerley looked pretty impressive in his first extended action of the season, and it’ll be fun to watch him develop as the season progresses.
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