Two of the more high-profile free agent targets left are visiting new teams today in the hopes of finding the right home for next season. After a frenzy of an NFL free agency signing period, it’s amazing that both Derrick Mason and Braylon Edwards are left standing, but that’s exactly what the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers are in a position to change if both parties like what they see.
It’s hard to imagine the Baltimore Ravens career leader in catches and yards leaving for another team, but the Ravens have opened the door for Mason to leave. While they’ve said they’ll welcome back the 37-year-old at a lower salary, Mason also has this one chance for another decent payday at the twilight portion of his career, so it’s not surprising to see him shopping around.
With the Jets, he would be paired with several former Ravens, including head coach Rex Ryan, safety Jim Leonhard and linebacker Bart Scott. It’s also clear that Mason has plenty left in the tank — last season he had over 800 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns. It’d be a nice addition for the Jets as well given that Mark Sanchez is still a work in progress at quarterback. Pairing a steady veteran to go with Santonio Holmes is a nice off-season haul.
As for Edwards, he could certainly use a change of scenery, but he needs to make nice with some team where the spotlight won’t be as bright. San Francisco always receives the lion’s share of media attention on the West Coast along with the Raiders, so it’s not exactly the best media scenario, especially given the recent bar fight incident.
Still Edwards is a dynamic receiver with several good years ahead of him, and the 49ers are without Michael Crabtree for several weeks and hope to break in a rookie quarterback soon enough with Colin Kaepernick. Alex Smith is currently at the helm, but the offensive mind of Jim Harbaugh is going to want to open things up, and Edwards on the outside would do wonders for his ability to make good on that promise.
Wherever he goes, Edwards needs to just put his head down, put in the reps and allow his talent to do the speaking for him. And when he’s off the field, he needs to either make new friends or develop a chess habit. It’s frustrating to watch such a talent get lost in the media shuffle over his off-the-field issues.