The idea that the Ravens’ Salary Cap has been adversely affected while awaiting WR Aquan Boldin’s return from Africa to take his physical with the 49ers, has been an issue that has greatly frustrated many Ravens fans.
As it turns out, it was never an issue at all and the initial reporting (from ProFootballTalk, and repeated, apparently without confirmation, by many others) that the trade wasn’t complete until Boldin passed his physical was totally inaccurate.
First, the official NFL transactions report disclosed the trade as being completed on March 12th and both teams announced the deal shortly thereafter.
This is important, because unlike free agent signings that are “agreed to terms, pending a physical,” those transactions don’t appear on the official transaction report until the player has passed the physical and signed his contract. Only then is the transaction complete and not until that time does the signing show up on the official NFL transaction report.
And, yet, the Boldin trade was shown on the official transaction report on the day it was completed.
Shortly thereafter, Boldin was no longer listed on the Ravens roster on NFL.com or the Ravens’ website, but was now listed on the 49ers roster on NFL.com and the 49ers’ website.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, Boldin’s name disappeared from the Ravens Cap on the public access portion of the NFLPA’s website and was placed under the 49ers Cap. This was probably the most compelling indication that the trade was seen as official, but without confirmation from the private access part of the NFLPA site, this all could not be totally confirmed.
Russell Street Report has now been able to confirm with two sources with access to official NFLPA records that Boldin is no longer being carried on the Ravens Salary Cap.
So, all of the consternation over the effect of Boldin remaining on the Ravens Cap pending his return from Africa was really over nothing – he was actually not on their Cap the entire time.
OK, so, what happens if Boldin were to actually fail his 49ers physical?
It’s pretty simple actually – the 49ers would void the trade and Boldin would be returned to the Ravens roster and Salary Cap. If Boldin’s return were to put the Ravens over the Cap (which isn’t presently an issue), the Ravens would then have 24 hours to either release Boldin or do what was otherwise necessary to bring their Cap into compliance.
So, if it hasn’t already become clear, the Ravens lack of spending on the free agent market isn’t about the Cap space being held up by Boldin’s trade, but obviously more by the design of the front office and how they are planning their offseason makeover of the roster.