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Ravens formally up the ante with Mason?

As our own Aaron Wilson reported earlier this afternoon, free-agent receiver Drew Bennett is now a member of the Ravens.

So why are we reminded of Costanza driving his former future in-laws to a nonexistent house in the Hamptons?

We probably are reminded of that because that’s probably what’s happening. Derrick Mason has indicated an intention to retire. We think he’s bluffing to get more money. Though the team is saying all the right things (like, “We don’t think he’s bluffing in order to get more money”), the Ravens are trying to project strength, by adding Drew Bennett.

In announcing the move, G.M. Ozzie Newsome gushed about the veteran wideout whose best days might be behind him.

“At this time of year, it’s good to be able to pick up a player who has been very productive in the league, and that includes against our defense,” Newsome said. “Drew has been very competitive against us. We obviously liked his workout today. We wanted to make sure he was healthy and that he still had the things we’ve seen against us and on film.

“Drew’s situation is a lot like L.J. Smith, who we added earlier this offseason. Both are proven veterans coming off injuries, and they are looking for the opportunity to resurrect their careers.”

So why didn’t they sign Bennett earlier, like they did with Smith? Given the puffing from Newsome, Bennett shouldn’t have been available at this time of year, because the Ravens should have already added him to a depth chart that, even with Mason, needs some help.

Meanwhile, we’re not so sure we agree with Newsome’s assessment that Bennett has been “very productive” against the Ravens. In seven career games against Baltimore, Bennett has had one 100-yard receiving game, in 2006.

In 2007, he was shut out. In 2005, he had three catches for 52 yards. In 2003, he had one catch for 17 yards in a playoff game. In 2002, he had three receptions for 49 yards. In a AFC Central home-and-home in 2001, Bennett was shut out in the first game, and he had three catches for 23 yards in the rematch.

And he has zero career touchdowns against the Ravens.

So we think the Ravens are merely trying to take it up a notch with Mason. And we think that it really wasn’t much of a notch.