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The Jets End the Derrick Mason Experiment

The Jets ship benched wideout to Texans for a draft pick

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 11:46 AM EDT
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Mason did a lot less catching than talking in his brief stay with the Jets.

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Derrick Mason said there were cracks in the Jets offense after the ugly loss to the Ravens.

The Jets obviously thought he was one of them, because the Jets traded him to Houston for a conditional seventh-round draft pick on Tuesday.

The move comes days after Mason was benched against the Patriots for, depening on who you believe, complaining about his role or not knowing the offense well enough.

Rex Ryan has insisted that Mason, who he predicted would catch 90 passes this season in what might have been his most ridiculous boast yet, wasn't demoted (or traded, presumably) for running his mouth.

Ryan doesn't much need his own players questioning whether he knows what he's doing, though, and Mason's broadside did just that at a time when plenty of knives were already coming out for Ryan.

He might have survived that if he could play, but it was clear on Sunday that there wasn't anything Mason could do that rookie Jeremy Kerley, his replacement, couldn't do in the offense. A player who can't play and can't keep his negative thoughts to himself isn't long for any team.

Given how quickly the situation deteriorated, it's actually commendable that the Jets could salvage anything from the Mason mess by getting a draft pick in return. That's about all that's commendable about this whole saga, however.

Mason's arrival followed the departure of Jerricho Cotchery, a player that the Jets really didn't appreciate until he was gone. Cotchery wanted more playing time last season, but it remained private knowledge until Cotchery asked the team to release him so he could go elsewhere.

From a purely football standpoint, it wasn't a tough move to defend but it has become clear that these Jets aren't as strong in the locker room with players like Mason who started finding public routes to vent their grievances as quickly as possible. The Jets can say this is about performance all they want, but it seems hard to accept that they'd admit blowing such a big move so quickly without the sense that the team needed Mason gone to improve the chemistry and send a message to others who might want to complain this season.

If it was just about performance, the Jets would keep Mason around to learn the offense and be an option in case they suffer an injury at receiver.

As it stands right now, the team is anorexic at receiver and an injury to Kerley, Santonio Holmes or Plaxico Burress would be devastating to an already iffy offense.

You don't take a risk like that unless the alternative is so unappealing that you can't fathom not making the move.

Everything about the brief Mason era was unappealing and now it is up to the Jets to prove that getting rid of him makes a difference.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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