News broke today that Ravens top receiver Derrick Mason has retired from football. While Mason was a bit banged up last season, this news is definitely an unexpected surprise at this point in the offseason.
With Baltimore now losing Joe Flacco's top target, one has to believe that Joe and the Ravens will lean on receiver Mark Clayton more often this season. Clayton was the Ravens first round pick back in 2006 and has been living in Mason's shadow for his first three years in the NFL.
Now that Mason is gone and with star tight end Todd Heap's inability to stay healthy (Ravens signed tight end LJ Smith to help out), this team needs Clayton in a big way.
Derrick Mason's Career in the NFL
Mason ends his career with more then 10,000 career receiving yards, 790 receptions and 52 receiving touchdowns. He was also a two—time Pro Bowl player and played a total of 12 years in the NFL.
His career started playing two seasons with the Houston Oilers, he then spent six more years with the franchise as they moved to Tennessee and became the Titans. Mason finished up his final four seasons for fantasy football owners as a Baltimore Raven.
A statement posted when he retired read:
“I have had a tremendous career and I played for two great teams, I had fun. In my career, I have been able to do everything but win a Super Bowl. I’ve had the opportunity to play on great teams and with great players. After 12 years, I have seen it all and done it all,” Mason stated. “Right now, I am content with the decision I am making. All good things come to an end and I am ready to see what else life has to offer.”
With a consistent and tough veteran like Mason, last years rookie quarterback Joe Flacco had a receiver that he could count on in tough times. Now this security blanket is gone, he will have to find success without this rock steady vet on the team.
Fantasy Football Information for Mark Clayton
With this news, Mark Clayton now becomes the unquestioned No. 1 receiver on the team. He also vaults his way into becoming a hands down top 30 wide receiver in fantasy football.
With a quality team all around him, I now expect Mark to be a receiver that fantasy owners can count on for at least 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009. Flacco needs a truely top receiver, and Clayton has the ability and skills to be that player.
The Ravens are now in desperate need for Clayton to be the player they hoped he would be coming out of Oklahoma. Clayton is now in his fourth season and I believe he will deliver the goods as he will have many balls thrown his way this season, as well as in seasons to come.
Demetrius Williams is probably the favorite to start opposite Clayton this season for the Ravens, so keep an eye out for him as well.
Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com