Posted March 11, 2013

Did Ravens err by trading Anquan Boldin to 49ers?

Baltimore Ravens
Anquan Boldin caught five touchdown passes during the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl run. (Kevin Terrell/AP)

Anquan Boldin caught four touchdown passes during the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl run. (Kevin Terrell/AP)

If you can’t beat ‘em, get ‘em to join you.

After shining during the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff run and hauling in a key touchdown pass in the Super Bowl, Anquan Boldin reportedly was traded to San Francisco on Monday, with the 49ers sending a sixth-round pick to the Ravens.

The 32-year-old Boldin has one year left on his current contract at $6 million. The Ravens deemed that price tag too expensive and reportedly asked Boldin to take a pay cut, which the veteran receiver refused. So, general manager Ozzie Newsome did what he could to turn around some value for Boldin, while clearing that $6 million off the books.

But does that financial relief clear the Ravens’ decision to deal a key member of their Super Bowl championship team?

Boldin is a long way removed from his 102-catch, 1,400-yard 2005 season, but he continues to be a reliable target. That proved especially true in the playoffs — Boldin caught 22 passes and scored four touchdowns in Baltimore’s playoff wins, stepping up as Joe Flacco’s go-to guy.

While the Ravens still have a healthy dose of skill at receiver, thanks to Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and others, Boldin will be missed. If Baltimore was unwilling to spend $6 million on Boldin, it stands to reason, too, that the franchise will not make any substantial moves at that position in free agency — Brian Hartline, a decent No. 2 receiver, just received a similar average per-year on a new deal in Miami.

On the flip side, Boldin figures to be a very welcome addition to San Francisco’s roster (at least, he had better be for $6 million, barring a contract extension). The 49ers were in the market for someone to take the burden off Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis in the passing game. Boldin should do that, even if he winds up third on the depth chart behind Crabtree and Mario Manningham.

The move also counters, to some extent, the big splash made by Seattle earlier Monday — the Seahawks dealt multiple draft picks to Minnesota for Percy Harvin.

Boldin may not match Harvin’s impact (or his upside), but he should more than fill the shoes of Randy Moss, who mustered just 28 catches during the 2012 regular season and now sits set to enter free agency.

Even though a $6 million commitment is significant from a financial standpoint, the 49ers entered this offseason with a glut of cap room. And they will hardly miss that draft pick — San Francisco still holds a staggering 15 selections in the upcoming draft.

Following Flacco’s re-signing, the Ravens reportedly entered Monday with $12.263 million in cap space, according to the Baltimore Sun‘s Aaron Wilson, who first reported the Boldin trade.

They still have several key players about to be unrestricted free agents, including CB Cary Williams, S Ed Reed, OLB Paul Kruger and LB Dannell Ellerbe. Of that group, Baltimore would love to retain Ellerbe and may still make a play for Reed. (The Ravens also have multiple restricted free agents, including their top two tight ends, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.)

Even if the trade of Boldin opens the door to retain some of that talent, the Ravens could feel the after-effects of this decision deep into 2013. It’s likely no coincidence that as Boldin stepped up his game in the postseason, Flacco emerged as a playoff MVP candidate.

Now, armed with the highest-paying QB contract in the NFL, Flacco will have to find a way to succeed sans his most reliable pass-catcher.

Flacco even said last week that Boldin had every right to refuse the Ravens’ request for him to take a pay cut. Clearly, Baltimore’s franchise QB knew just how valuable Boldin was during the 2012 season and subsequent postseason rise.

The Ravens saw things differently. Now, they’ll cross their fingers and hope they were right.

51 comments
StewartOrvik
StewartOrvik

Boldin is going to be great for the Niners...

dafirestar
dafirestar

First let me say this, yes Newsome erred in not honoring a relatively inexpensive 6 million for a player of his caliber. The game is in for a change because of the 18 regular season games. Boldin is a gamer, he's who you want lining up when the stakes are highest. He doesn't need to give you 130 receptions and 1000 yards. You want younger guys pulling in the stats, and the hits that come with that type of playing time, allowing gamers like Boldin to get himself ready for the real season the 4 game ride to the Super Bowl. Boldin is one of the few players in the league that makes a difference in a teams performance, he's capable of plays that inspire his teammates in a way that others simply don't bring to the table. It's an intangible that Newsome either can't see or doesn't want to by but Flacco was not the reason for the victory against SF, watch the tape and watch who makes the plays and inspires the Ravens like Flacco isn't capable of doing. Doesn't make him any less valuable, he just doesn't inspire teammates as Bolding does in making plays. Newsome doesn't see it, he's to busy looking at the bottom line and salary caps to be able to visualize the value I'm talking about, if he did see it he wouldn't have made this move.

Invictus7
Invictus7

If Flacco thought Boldin was so valuable why didn't he put his money where his mouth is and do a Brady. Take a little off on the pay demands to ensure you keep some weapons. Flacco had a great postseason but does not deserve to be the highest paid QB in the league. This season he'll have to prove he's worth it and able to carry the franchise irrespective of the talent around him.

Darren1
Darren1

Keep in mind two things: Boldin is 32, and thus has maybe 2 or 3 good seasons left, and counts $6 million against the cap. I think the Ravens got what they could.

John4
John4

Yes, the Ravens erred by trading Boldin.  Getting a sixth rounder accomplishes nothing.  The player they select will be a special teams guy for a few years and then replaced by a younger cheaper version of himself.  Boldin, on the other hand is a superstar who performs best in the most important games.  The 49ers will probably get 2-3 fantastic years out of him, and the "cost" of losing a sixth round pick for that is inconsequential.  I believe the 49ers are the favorites to win the SB in the 2013 season.  Boldin is a huge factor in that reasoning.  Will the sixth rounder they traded to the Ravens ever help them the same way?  No, he will not.  (Don't foolishly retort with the one sixth round pick out of hundreds that becomes a Pro Bowler.  Understand that the typical sixth round pick is a back up/special teams player who plays in the NFL for a few years.  That is what the Ravens are getting for Boldin).  

gary41
gary41

Unbalanced is the word for the Ravens, across the board.  The defense will be deficient, probably 2 of 4 key players in the days ahead.  On the offensive side, Flacco, who was the 12th rated QB (post season excepted), gets more money and more respect, while other players (of lesser future value) are asked to take less.  Is it possible that Flacco might return to the same inconsistent pattern as the past??  It's no accident the Seahawks and Niners, both with balanced finances, are standing by, willing to pay for a few good men..... 

Cool
Cool

I think 49ers show that they know how to make a deal and Ravens show that it will be a long time before they are in another super bowl. Flacco has now become the $20 million sports car without a road to drive on.

CharlesS
CharlesS

Great trade for the Niners. Will miss Q in Baltimore big time.

AnnabelLee
AnnabelLee

Starting to look like Ravens were going to release him.  Instead, they pick up a 6th rounder.  Better than nothing.  BTW, Ozzie does not get fleeced.  Given his record of success you got to pity the fool that questions his judgement.

Dryfuss1
Dryfuss1

I'm sorry but Boldin is worth way more than a 6th rounder. I don't care how old the guy is, he obviously still has game! A 3rd rounder would have been fair. Ravens DID get fleeced!

Kristian
Kristian

It's not like SF was going to find a receiver in the 6th round that would be able to make anything even close to the kind of contribution the Boldin will next season.  That guy's tough as nails.Heck whoever they took with that pick may not even have made the team.

kyyled55
kyyled55

SF GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL AGAIN, THIS TIME TO WIN AND NOT BE TRIPPED UP BY A NO-CALL ON 4TH AND GOAL...

barkleesdad
barkleesdad

Harvin is 24yo, Boldin is 32.  I don't think anyone got fleeced

JamesMartin
JamesMartin

Vikings traded Harvin for a 1st, Ravens traded Boldin for a 6th?

Who got fleeced here folks?

Kristian
Kristian

 @Invictus7 I don't think Flacco's anything but an average quarterback and the total sum of his contract is ridiculous but there's no blaming Flacco for this year because his pay is only 6.8 million against the cap.

Mike26
Mike26

 @John4 Boldin is in decline overall and has been for 2-3 years.  He's way too expensive to keep for $6M.  

 

BTW, you're absolutely clueless as everyone else what the Ravens will get out of the pick.

John4
John4

 @gary41 Gary - well said.  Yours is one of the most intelligent posts I have read today.  

MichaelF1
MichaelF1

 @Dryfuss1

 How is it getting fleeced if you get something for a player that you were going to release anyways?  Gotta remember that Boldin only has one year left on current contract and is on the wrong side of 30 years old.  Boldin backed the Ravens into a corner with no much time to put a trade together to be rid of his $6 million before free agency started.  Plus, teams with cap space have been targeting Wallace and Welker and have made plans accordingly.  Just like poker players, the Niners knew the Ravens had nothing and made an offer at the pot and there was nothing the Ravens could do but fold (and walk away with something).

MichaelF1
MichaelF1

 @Kristian

 True, but that sixth round pick wasn't going to cost $6 million either......So basically, after the Alex Smith trade, the Niners are up a second round draft pick + $2.5 million in cap space.  I am assuming next years pick from KC sort of equals the 6th round pick that they gave up for Boldin. 

 

That is not too shabby at all!

John4
John4

 @kyyled55 Kyyled - also, I have to agree with Kristian.  If the 49ers truly deserved to win, they should have played better the whole game.  No excuse being down 28-6.  Yes, they came back a lot, but still down 28-6?  That's not Championship worthy.  

John4
John4

 @kyyled55 actually, that was a good no-call.  No fan of the 49ers complained about the no-call in the playoffs vs. the Falcons.  Try to be consistent.  The no call in the SB was the correct decision.  

AlainLapointe
AlainLapointe

@kyyled55 Had they played Seattle instead of Atlanta they would not have reached the S. Bowl

Mike26
Mike26

 @kyyled55 Kyle, judging by your commenting style (ALL CAPS) and your paper-thin reasoning and logic, I gauge your age to be in the 16-19 category.

MichaelF1
MichaelF1

 @kyyled55

 I wouldn't make that guarentee if I was you.  Niners season goes into the toilet if Kap takes one good shot to his knee.....Or hell, pulls a hamstring on one of his long runs.

Kristian
Kristian

 @kyyled55 You can't blame one call for not winning.  I hate when people do that.  If they hadn't sucked in the first half or blown the other opportunities on 1st, 2nd or 3rd down, that 4th down call/no call wouldn't have mattered.

bulletrico
bulletrico

 @barkleesdad Harvin is prone to injury and is a diva and headcase... I'd rather have AB any day of the week and twice on Sundays!!!!

John4
John4

 @Mike26 No, I'm not clueless.  The Ravens will get a run of the mill 6th round guy.  A serviceable player for a few years.  Not a game changer (like Boldin).  Also, the stats for the last three years for Boldin are 186 receptions, 2645 yards and 14 TDs.  (Not including playoffs, which were epic in 2012).  Not sure of the "decline" you speak of, but clearly worth the "gamble" of trading a 6th round pick.  Also, there's no way in the world you really think the 6th round pick will help the Ravens anywhere near as much as Boldin will improve the 49ers.  To think otherwise would be idiotic.  You're not an idiot, are you Mike 26?

Of course you can look at previous Ravens 6th round draft picks.  Here's a hint, USE GOOGLE.

2012 Ravens 6th round pick Tommy Streeter - listed as "No stats".

2011 Ravens 6th round pick Tyrod Taylor - backup QB

2010 Ravens 6th round pick Arthur Jones - DT with 41 tackles in 3 seasons!

2009 Ravens 6th round pick Cedric Peerman - RB with 274 career yards rushing!

 

Don't tell me I'm clueless.  The Ravens 6th round pick will be a player of no significance at all.  Everyone knows that.  Time to come back to reality, Mike 26.   

dafirestar
dafirestar

 @Mike26  @John4

 Mike, take a look back at late 6th round picks, early 7th round picks and you will find that Bolding brings more to the table if he makes through the 6th game. To actually think that the Ravens are getting any value with that pick makes you clueless Mike.

Dryfuss1
Dryfuss1

I don't understand why they wanted to move him that bad, the dude still put up 900 yds last yr and isn't injury prone. There really aren't any young top notch recievers in free agency except Wallace (who only put up 800 yds last yr) and Miami reportedly is willing to break the bank to sign him. Welker and Jennings are both about the same age and will be probly asking for more than the 6 million that they would have to pay Boldin. It seems that they should have been willing to say ok, Flacco likes this guy, we just won a Super Bowl, unless someone offers us a tempting trade lets just cough up the 6 mil and try to restructure with another player. Then just let Boldin walk next yr. its hard to believe that a 6th round pick is the best offer they could have gotten for the guy. Maybe I should rephrase my comment. Because of the mind frame that they were in to either release him or force him to take a pay cut, they didn't get fleeced, but damn! SF got one hell of a deal!

kyyled55
kyyled55

 @Kristian  @kyyled55 And I hate when people use "if". "If they hadn't sucked in the first half or blown the other opportunities on 1st, 2nd or 3rd down, that 4th down call/no call wouldn't have mattered."

 

Yeah, but they came all the way back, and the call *did* matter. If the play is called correctly, it's first and goal on the 1. With the 49ers O-line, you need 13 guys to stop them 4 times from the 1.

 

So it did make the difference.

Kristian
Kristian

 @kyyled55 I do agree though that San Fran definitely looks like one of the leading contenders in the NFC next year. 

JaimeSusurro
JaimeSusurro

 @dbrown2  @JamesMartin 

 

dbrown, you're an idiot as well. harvin was traded so he could be the #1 receiver on the hawks - what the seahawks lacked. 

 

niners already have crabtree as the #1 guy. trading a 6th round pick for boldin is nothing for someone to be #2 or #3 in the depth chart. 

 

moron.

John4
John4

 @FTF   FTF - thank you for the kind words.  I will avoid the trolls as much as possible.  The coming season looks to be one for the ages for both the 49ers and Seahawks.  (I am a fan of neither team, but they both appear loaded).

FTF
FTF

 @John4  @Mike26 MIke26 can't come back to reality... and he won't cite any facts.  Why?  Because Mike26 is a troll.  No more feeding the fat trolls. 

 

However, John4... well stated arguments.  

Dryfuss1
Dryfuss1

True, you are definately right, he has slowed down and  he is more of a possesion reciever now. But he is stil better than mediocre. A lot of teams would love to have a good possession guy. I know a lot of quarterbacks would.

Dryfuss1
Dryfuss1

It is definately open for debate guys. He is slowing down a bit but just because he is in his 30s doesn't mean he can't be  productive. like I mentioned he still had 900 yds last yr and dominated some pretty decent dbs in the Super Bowl.  He is more than just an average possession reciever.  I mean it comes down to 1 team willing to pay the 6 mil for one yr to a guy who can be a game changer still from time to time and one team that is not. It just seems to me, and this is just my opinion, that with a few teams out there that DO have a ton of cap room, that they panicked a little and took whatever offer was thrown at them. I find it hard to believe that there wouldn't be another team out there that would be like "What ?" you are giving hime to SF for a 6th rounder? "Shoot, i'll give you a 5th rounder instead" and a another team going " oh yeah"? well Ill give you a fourth rounder! Just seems like they went w/the mind set of oh well, we are going to cut him so lets just take anything. I think they could have played their cards better and got something more in return.

 

John4
John4

 @Dryfuss1 Note also that Boldin's playoff stats this past season were awesome.  

David2
David2

 @Dryfuss1 Whether the Ravens should have tried to clear that $6M somewhere else (a legitimate question) is not remotely related to the return they got for Boldin once they decided that his contract needed to go.  A 33 year old WR making $6M that would been released in a few days anyway does not have much value on the trade market.  The decision to trade him may have been questionable, but the return they got for him is not.

Mike26
Mike26

 @Dryfuss1 Boldin is the epitome of "slowing down".  He DID have a nice run in the playoffs, for sure.  But he's been slowing down for several years now.  He's never been a speed guy, and there's lots of possession WR's on the market.  He's not worth $6M of cap space.

AnnabelLee
AnnabelLee

  correction vs. Atlanta, not Seattle

scBlais
scBlais

 @kyyled55  @Kristian And how about the non-PI call that should have led to a Ravens TD earlier in the game?

 

Kristian
Kristian

 @kyyled55 And the play was called consistently with the way the rest of the game had been called.   You're just a sore loser.