Patriots camp notebook: Mason mulls financial future

New England Patriots guard Shaq Mason (69) is in the final year of his contract with the team.Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

Mason: "I’ve been working and just taking it one step at a time"

By William Bendetson

FOXSBOROUGH, Mass. — Guard Shaq Mason started all 16 games for the Patriots last fall at right guard, marking 31 straight starts at the position for the 2015 fourth-round pick.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2018 with a growing positive reputation, Mason could be an attractive target with lucrative options on the free agent market next spring.

A year after losing left tackle Nate Solder to a $60 million contract with the Giants, New England will have to decide Mason’s value to the team.

Mason recently told the Boston Herald that he would like to remain with the team that drafted him out of Georgia Tech.

“Yes, I would,” Mason said. “But as far as all that goes, I don’t look ahead, honestly. I’m just worried about reporting to training camp July 25 and taking it from there.”

Though he could be on the horizon of a contract that might pay him tens of millions of dollars, Mason is taking a very Patriots approach to the coming season.

“Honestly, I’ve been working and just taking it one step at a time,” Mason told the Herald. “Just honing in on details, the smaller things of my game, just become a better overall player.”

–Wide receiver Randy Moss may have been a Hall of Fame enshrinee with or without his three-plus seasons in New England that included his NFL-record 23 touchdown catches in 2007.

According to a story Moss told in a conference call leading up to his induction in Canton later this month, we almost found out what Moss’ career would have looked like without his time catching balls from Tom Brady. Asked about his best memory of New England, Moss told of the draft-night call he got from Bill Belichick as the coach was working a deal for the then-Raiders receiver.

“I think my best memory would probably be the night that I got the call from Belichick,” Moss said. “I went down to Houston, Texas for a charity event. We were about to go into a club, and my phone rang. I picked it up, and the man said on the other line that it was coach Belichick, so I hang up the phone. So I said a few other words, said a few cuss words. So, then when he called me back, I kinda felt small and apologized because it really was him.

“He told me briefly that, ‘the Raiders want to trade you.’ You have by 10 o’clock to get up here or the trade is voided. So, I hurried up and I got my pilots together, and got my behind up there to Foxborough. One of the first guys that I met up there was Kevin Faulk.”

Patriots fans, and Moss, are certainly glad Belichick called back.

–Wide receiver Terrell Owens felt the pain of defeat when his Eagles lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. It’s not hard to imagine that the result of that game in some way fueled the soon-to-be Hall of Famer’s rant this week against New England and its championship pillars on social media.

Targeting former NBA star Sam Cassell with some post one-on-one trash talk.

“I beat you, Sam. I beat you. I beat you. I ain’t cheat you. You sound like the Patriots. I don’t care about the Patriots,” Owens, who is choosing not to take part in Hall of Fame induction ceremonies this summer in Canton, said. “Belichick, Brady; they cheaters. They cheated. They cheated.”