Saturday, July 25, 2009

Drew Bennett Signs With Ravens, Problem Solved?

The Ravens once again turn to a former Titan for a need, this one being wide receiver Drew Bennett, who signed a one-year deal with the Ravens on Friday, almost two weeks after Derrick Mason retired.

Bennett was on the Titans for six years, then joined onto the Rams in 2007 and 2008. Before that, he had caught at least 700 yards in his last three years with Tennessee, including over 1200 in 2004. He got hurt with a foot injury in the opening game this past year and had his six-year contract terminated by St. Louis after the season. Now 30, he won the receiver tryouts and will join the Ravens for this season, meaning Baltimore believes his foot is fine and will have him on the field.

Bennett will likely get the #1 or #2 spot with the other going to Mark Clayton. Demetrius Williams and Marcus Smith will probably fight for the slot position. The Ravens may employ their tight ends a lot with Todd Heap and L.J. Smith to balance the air attack for Joe Flacco.

I'm not sure if this is who the Ravens need at wide receiver in place of Derrick Mason, but this might have been the best option. It is concerning that no one wanted Bennett beforehand, but that would have been a problem with anyone they picked up in free agency, including Marvin Harrison. It is also concerning the Ravens are depending on another receiver with injury issues. But, it will mean the Ravens will not do a high risk trade for players like Brandon Marshall or Anquan Boldin, whose respective teams would have likely raised the price for their talented but risky off the field receivers.

But this does bring up the question of Mason's retirement. The buzz had gone around that John Harbaugh was not sure if Mason had retired, that maybe he would want an extension or just didn't want to go to training camp. But signing Bennett may be an important move to this. Obviously the Ravens would love to have Mason back, but Ozzie Newsome can not bank on convincing Mason to change his mind. At the very least the Ravens need another receiver that can play to be ready. The door is not shut on the situation, but the Ravens are ready to move on if nothing changes.

No matter what, the Ravens will be readying their two tight end sets to have their best core of ball-catchers on the field to help Joe Flacco. This is not an easy situation to deal with and the problems are not over, but Bennett was a good pickup considering the situation in Baltimore.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

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