Daily Archives: July 13, 2009

Mason hangs ’em up

As we approach training camp, it’s time for some veterans to decide they just don’t have another season in them. One made that choice Monday — WR Derrick Mason of the Ravens. Here are some thoughts on Mason’s retirement, followed by thoughts on what the Ravens might do now at wideout. You can see how this retirement compares to others this offseason in this cumulative post.

Mason wasn’t big (just 5-foot-10), but throughout the decade he has been a No. 1 receiver who is a dependable chain-moving target who can also make big plays. He had 60-plus catches every year this decade once he established himself as a starter in Tennessee, and he was the kind of solid receiver that defense-oriented teams in Tennessee and Baltimore needed him to be. In fact, Mason (a two-time Pro Bowler) had a similar career to Hines Ward, though he has never gotten the pub that Ward has. Mason deserves credit for the fact that those teams were contenders for much of the decade. Mason’s career numbers – 790 catches for more than 10,000 yards and 79 touchdowns – are surprisingly good, and they’re a tribute to the longevity of a guy who epitomizes the term professional.

The Ravens, now, are in trouble at receiver. Their lone proven receiver is Mark Clayton, who has emerged to be a dependable starter over the past two years. But he’s a No. 2 wideout, not a No. 1. Demetrius Williams is a tall wideout who can make big plays but who hasn’t been dependable. The Ravens sniffed around trade possibilities for star receivers like Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall this offseason, and they might now be motivated to make that kind of splashy move. But a more cost-effective move might be to bring in a veteran like Marvin Harrison to provide leadership and a security blanket for young QB Joe Flacco.

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Griese’s gone

It’s been really slow going on the NFL transactions wire lately, aside from the spate of draft-pick signings. But Monday, the Buccaneers finally released QB Brian Griese. Here are some thoughts on the move; you can see how it compares to other post-draft cuts in this post.

Griese’s second tour of duty in Tampa Bay came to an end, and it wasn’t unexpected. After signing Luke McCown to a backup-quality deal in the offseason, then adding Byron Leftwich, and then drafting Josh Freeman in the first round, there was simply no room for Griese. The 11-year veteran still has enough to be a decent backup if he wants to keep playing, but he also has been around long enough that retirement could be an option. If it is, the former third-round pick who succeeded John Elway can rest in the fact that he had a solid if unspectacular career.

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FR: Supplemental draft picks

The supplemental draft is coming up July 16, and now that we’ve previewed the players available this year, I thought we’d take a minute to compare players in the league who entered the league as supplemental draft picks. 10 is the player who has had the best career; 1 is the player who had the least success on the pro level.

10 – NT Jamal Williams, Chargers (2nd round pick, 1998) – Williams has been the stalwart of San Diego’s defensive line since joining the team via the supplemental draft. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time all-pro who consistently wreaks havoc with his ability to clog the middle and get pressure that stymies the opposition running game. To run a 3-4 defense successfully, you need a run stopper, and Williams has been one of the very best in the league at that for more than a decade now.

9 – none

8 – OG Mike Wahle, Seahawks (2nd round pick, 1998) – Like his supplemental classmate Williams, Wahle has translated his second-round selection by Green Bay into a solid career. Wahle remains a starter in Seattle now after productive stops with the Packers and Panthers, where he made his lone Pro Bowl and won all-pro honors in 2005. Wahle has had a strong career and still has the ability to start in the league.

7 – OT Jared Gaither, Ravens (5th round pick, 2007) – The Ravens picked Gaither, a local product from Maryland, and quickly developed him into a starting left tackle. Because they took the risk on him, the Ravens now have bookend tackles in Gaither and Michael Oher. Gaither’s huge size and good movement make him a prototypical left tackle, and so far he’s proven to be a worthy successor to Jonathan Ogden.

6 – none

5 – none

4 – OT Milford Brown (6th round pick, 2002) – Brown, who is still looking for 2009 employment, started more than 50 games after the Texans selected him in the supplemental draft. While he hasn’t been a standout, anytime a team gets that kind of use out of any 6th-rounder, it’s a victory. Brown certainly gave the Texans more than Tony Hollings, a 2003 second-round supplemental choice who did next to nothing in the NFL.

3 – DB Paul Oliver, Chargers (4th round pick, 2007) – Oliver missed his rookie season with an injury and played as a backup most of last year, although he did get two starts. He’s in the mix for San Diego, but he has yet to establish himself as a starting caliber player. Still, he’s young enough to get a chance going forward.

2 – none

1 – LB Ahmad Brooks, 49ers (3rd round pick, 2006) – Brooks was a first-round quality talent with a ton of baggage, and the fit in Cincinnati wasn’t good because the Bengals already had more than enough talented but troubled players. Brooks was one of the team’s final cuts in training camp last year, and he landed with San Francisco but didn’t play. Maybe Mike Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker, can help Brooks unlock his potential.

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