Market for wide receiver stretches far

As former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Mushin Muhammad was setting the tables to break the bank prior to the free agent player signing period, other available receivers were becoming hot topics in league circles. The wave of player releases prior to the official free agency period could be beneficial to those teams with salary-cap room and need.

When Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jerry Porter re-signed with the team and Muhammad quickly struck a deal with the Chicago Bears, the market price for receivers was believed to be set. Due to the salary cap, it wasn't surprising to see the quantity and quality of talent available at the receiver position.

The latest cap casualty at the receiver position, Derrick Mason, formerly of the Tennessee Titans, has received considerable interest. A legitimate number one receiver, Mason has been contacted by no less that 13 teams since his release, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and New York Jets showing extensive interest in the dynamic playmaker.

There is speculation in league circles that believe Mason will potentially land in Jacksonville, a team in need of a number-one type receiver as long-time Jaguars' receiver Jimmy Smith is in the twilight of his career.

"The Mason release really wasn't a surprise. It was expected that the Titans would make some significant moves to gain some financial sanity," a league source said. "The preconceived notion early has been he (Mason) will sign with the Jaguars, but after meeting with his agent (Lamont Smith), we believe Mason is open to playing in any competitive situation."

Coming off four consecutive seasons in which he gained over 1,000 receiving yards, Mason is a game-breaking quality player that a team like the Ravens or Vikings could utilize to revamp or upgrade their immediate need. In Baltimore, the Ravens have sought a legitimate threat at wide receiver for the past couple seasons and could be the strongest competitor in the market for Mason's services.

"The Ravens have looked for a star-quality type receiver for the past few years and thought they landed one in the (Terrell) Owens, only to be left standing at the altar. They have him (Mason) in their sights," one AFC general manager said. "Signing with the Jaguars has to be enticing to Mason, due to his desire to play in that region, but Baltimore is going to put its best foot forward.

"And, don't discount the Minnesota Vikings. They have more cap space than anyone in this league, by far. They know they need to make a move to replace the loss of big-play ability and productivity coming from the (Randy) Moss deal to the Raiders. The Ravens and Vikings are in the best position, due to cap space and priority to make quite an offer to Mason."

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