A day after dealing wide receiver Derrick Mason to the Texans, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum denied that he made the decision because of Mason’s public comments about the offense.
After the Jets lost to Baltimore in Week Four, Mason was quoted as saying that there were “cracks” in the team’s offense, a comment that was followed by reports that he joined other Jets receivers in complaining to Rex Ryan about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and another report that he was benched for most of last week’s loss to the Patriots because of his mouth. The Jets denied each of the latter two reports and Ryan said Mason was benched because of his performance. Tannenbaum used the same reason to explain why he traded Mason to Houston for a conditional seventh-round pick.
“I think the hallmark of our program is everyone has to be themselves,” Tannenbaum said in a Wednesday press conference. “And clearly that’s the environment we have here. What he 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 to be or where we had expected to be.”
Tannenbaum declined to say whether the Jets were actively shopping Mason, but did say that he would have remained with the team if the Texans didn’t call about him. There’s no doubt that Mason has produced much less than the Jets expected through the first five weeks of the season, but it still seems odd that they’d be so quick to cut bait on a player they liked enough to offer a two-year, $3.81 million contract this summer without having much in reserve unless he’d fallen way out of favor.
Rookie Jeremy Kerley, who made his first NFL catches against New England, is now the third receiver with Patrick Turner as the only other healthy receiver on the active roster. Logan Payne is expected back from a broken wrist at some point and Tannenbaum indicated that he doesn’t have any plans to bolster the unit at present.