FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Less than a week after signing Plaxico Burress, the New York Jets are mulling another big move at wide receiver. This time, they're targeting Derrick Mason, a league source confirmed Wednesday night.
Mason, 37, released last week by the Baltimore Ravens, is scheduled to visit the Jets on Thursday morning, according to multiple reports. If the meeting goes well -- and that means passing a physical -- he's expected to sign a contract.
The Jets' interest in Mason, first reported by CBSSports.com, raises serious questions about the future of popular No. 3 receiver Jerricho Cotchery. He underwent back surgery in February and, although Cotchery says he's fine, he hasn't been cleared to practice and remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Cotchery, who was dangled earlier this week in trade talks, could be traded or released if the Jets sign Mason. Cotchery is due to make $1.8 million, about twice as much as Mason would make if he signs for the veterans' minimum.
Rex Ryan, a former Ravens assistant, is familiar with Mason because of their Baltimore ties. Mason spent the past six seasons with the Ravens, averaging 74 catches per season. But he suffered his worst season in 2010, finishing with only 61 catches, 802 yards and a 13.1-yard average.
Mason also has a connection to Burress. They were teammates for one season at Michigan State.
Presumably, Mason would be the No. 3 receiver, but he also could handle a starting role until Burress gets acclimated. Burress, 33, hasn't played in two seasons because of a 20-month prison sentence and has yet to practice. Players with new contracts aren't allowed to practice until the new CBA is finalized, which could be Thursday.
Mason would complete a major facelift to the receiving corps. The Jets retained No. 1 receiver Santonio Holmes with a five-year, $50 million contract, but they decided not to re-sign Braylon Edwards and let Brad Smith go to the Buffalo Bills without so much as an offer.
Mason, known for his toughness and durability, has an impressive resume. He has eight 1,000-yard seasons in his 14-year career, which began with the Tennessee Titans. Scouts say he has lost some speed, but he managed to tie Anquan Boldin for the team lead in touchdown catches (seven) last season.
When the Ravens released him -- he was due to make $4.5 million -- Mason hinted that he might like to return.
"This is just another chip on my shoulder," Mason told The Baltimore Sun. "This is something else that fuels me and makes me try to be as productive on the field as I can, whether that be in Baltimore -- and I hope it is -- or somewhere else."
Losing Cotchery would be a tough blow to the Jets' locker room. He played hurt all last season, with a herniated disc. He made one of the plays of the year, a diving catch moments after tearing his groin.
On Tuesday, Cotchery said there was "no doubt" in his mind that he'd be ready for the season opener. Meanwhile, the front office already was plotting another move at receiver, as GM Mike Tannenbaum said he wouldn't rule out adding another veteran at the position.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.