According to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com, the New York Jets have traded Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans for a conditional seventh-round draft pick -- a move that could send a message to the underachieving Jets. This news comes just two days after the veteran wide receiver was demoted on the depth chart.

Mason, whom coach Rex Ryan predicted would catch at least 80 passes this season as the Jets' slot receiver, had only 13 receptions in five games. The timing of the trade is curious because of reports over the weekend that portrayed Mason as a problem in the Jets' locker room.

Ryan refuted the reports, claiming he wanted to give rookie Jeremy Kerley a chance as the No. 3 receiver. But the Jets' coach also suggested there was more to the decision, hinting that it stemmed from a "private conversation" last week with the receiver.

The Jets refused to divulge the nature of that conversation, but the team was disappointed with Mason because he wasn't learning the playbook as quickly as they had hoped. Mason went home to Nashville every Monday and Tuesday to be with his family, and that may have contributed to his struggles.

Mason had permission from the team to make the weekly trips as part of the agreement between him and the team back in August. The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans, his previous teams, wanted to re-sign Mason before he ultimately decided to come to New York.