New York Jets Front Office Addresses Mason Trade
On Wednesday New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan addressed the team’s trade of wide receiver Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans.
On what precipitated the Derrick Mason trade…
“Suffice to say, things didn’t work out on the field with Derrick. With that said, going back to what Rex (Ryan) addressed the other day, we were committed to try and make it work and get him to play better on the field, at a level that he was accustomed to and what we were expecting. We got an opportunity when Houston called yesterday. When we make these decisions, we look at a lot of things, obviously, the on-field performance of how he was playing, but the opportunity to get a draft choice. Obviously, a really big factor was the emergence of Jeremy Kerley and an opportunity to get him on the field in our three-receiver set. When we looked at all those factors last night, we’re always going to make the decisions that are best for us, and that’s the decision we arrived at.”
On whether any off-the-field matters played a part in the Mason trade…
“What’s been great for me working with Rex and Woody (Johnson) every day, I think the hallmark of our program is everyone has to be themselves. Clearly, that’s the environment we have here. What (Mason) said after the Baltimore game had nothing to do with the decision we made last night. Obviously, the performance on the field wasn’t where he had expected it to be or where we expected it to be. What our program stands for, I think it’s a disciplined program, but it’s also a program that lets guys be who they are, let their personalities come out. We’re always going to make decisions, what’s best for the team, based on what we thought was going to give us the best chance to win on the field.”
On whether he’s surprised that a veteran like Mason did not catch on to the offense sooner…
“Why he wasn’t successful on the field, there’s probably a lot of factors that do go into that. Suffice it to say, he just didn’t play at the level that he had hoped and we had hoped. Going back to what’s best for the team, getting Kerley on the field we saw as a real positive, and that’s why we made the decision. Also, from my perspective, when you run the team, you look at things like budgets and salary caps and potential for draft choices and what you could do with those, so there are other factors that go into it, but Kerley was obviously a big factor in this.”
“We made the trade, Derrick Mason going to Houston. (Here are a) just a few thoughts that I had on Derrick. I have a ton of respect for him, one of 18 receivers in the history of this game to go over 12,000 yards. He’s closing in on 1,000 receptions. I’ve always had a ton of respect for Derrick, and still do, as a player and a person. With that, though, we made the decision to move on from Derrick (and) trade him. I think that gives more opportunity. It shows we feel really good about (Jeremy) Kerley (and) what he did in that Patriot game. We saw it coming on the practice field. It was hard to ignore, the kind of plays he’s making, so we’re excited about Jeremy.”
On what did not work with Mason…
“I’m not sure. As we know, I’m on record, saying he’s going to catch 80 balls, because that’s the kind of respect I have for Derrick. I know the kind of player that I knew in Baltimore and here. (I was) excited to bring him in. It’s just one of those things. He was targeted 10 times in I think the Oakland game, a bunch of catches and things. He’s still got a lot of ability. I think what we saw on the practice field was that Jeremy Kerley, I think, has a lot of ability. When you look at it, even this past week, we wanted to feature Jeremy in there. He was impressive. He was targeted three times, three catches. You can run reverses, you can do different things with Jeremy. At the end of the day, Houston gave us a call, and we’re like, “You know what, let’s go with Jeremy.” And that’s what we did.”
On the perception that there was turmoil between Mason and the coaching staff…
“I thought I answered it back then. I had a private conversation with Derrick and it’ll remain that way, but he was not benched because of comments that he made in the media. That is not true.”
On whether Mason bought in 100% to the program…
“I mean, buying into what? Most guys want to play. In that particular game plan, we were much more— and you guys have all the numbers, I know you do—more regular personnel and two tight ends and things like that. Guys want to play. There’s no question. And then, when you look at it, Jeremy had the 18 reps, and I think, Derrick had six or seven reps I’m guessing, or something like that. It wasn’t that he wasn’t buying in. It was just that we saw a lot of Jeremy and we got excited about that.”
On why he would give up on Mason after a slow start…
“The one thing I wanted to make sure is clear (is) how much respect I have for Derrick. Always – before, during and after him being a Jet and everything else. As I’ve said, (he is) a tremendous player and a tremendous person, but we’re excited about moving forward with Jeremy. I don’t know how else I can tell you that. I think when you see him out there he’s doing a great job as a punt returner. He’s doing a great job as a third receiver.”
My Take: There are two ways you can look at the Jets trading of Derrick Mason. The first point of view is that the Jets are trying to send a message to the locker room that bickering to the media is not going to be tolerated. All issues must be kept in house, especially when the team is struggling.
The second point of view is that the Jets truly believe that Jeremy Kerley was outperforming Derrick Mason and the trade would give the team the ability to get the young playmaker on the field more often.
Personally I think the trade is a case of addition by subtraction. Derrick Mason has struggled to fit into the Jets offense for a variety of reasons, which bothered both the player and the team. Mason’s frustrations from his poor performance more than likely carried over into the locker room, which is never good for a team, especially one with a young quarterback. At the same time Jeremy Kerley is an explosive playmaker, one who can add a new dimension to the offense, primarily out of the slot position.
The Jets looked at Mason’s contributions/struggles as compared to his salary cap number and figured it was time for a change. Lets be honest anytime you trade a veteran player for a conditional seventh round pick it is nothing more than a player/salary dump. The team does have some depth issues at the wide receiver position but I am guessing Patrick Turner will get more reps and running back Joe McKnight will see more time as well.
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