Ravens go safe with Drew Bennett

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The Baltimore Ravens made their first move in an effort to potentially replace No. 1 receiver Derrick Mason. On Friday the Ravens signed veteran receiver Drew Bennett to a one-year, $745,000 contract, according to ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton.

This isn't a high-profile signing, but it's a safe move for the Ravens.

First, Bennett does not put the team in jeopardy in case Mason decides to return. "Mase," who unexpectedly retired last week, would rightfully return to his place as the top starter if he has a change of heart this summer. Bennett, in turn, would provide much-needed depth for the Ravens at wide receiver.

Second, if Mason stays retired Baltimore has a potential starter at a bargain rate. Bennett just recently had 46 catches for 737 yards in 2006. Injuries have hurt his production since, but the Ravens are making a calculated risk that he can bounce back for a veteran team coming off a loss in the AFC title game.

This signing likely means bigger names such as Marvin Harrison and trade possibilities for superstars Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall are out of reach for the Ravens. It's obvious that Bennett is not a No. 1 receiver. But taking a safe approach for now in hopes that Mason returns may not be a bad move for Baltimore.