He was instrumental in the Ravens unforgettable playoff romp to close out the 2012 season. He brought attitude and toughness to an offense that needed it. He made contested catches in the clutch.
And then they traded him!
Anquan Boldin, a Ravens star in Super Bowl XLVII has just abruptly concluded his first and possibly last season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. And he will soon become an unrestricted free agent.
Fans in Baltimore want the Ravens front office to correct what they believe to be a fatal flaw from the 2013 offseason and bring Q back to The Land of Pleasant Living. Unfortunately for those pining for 81’s return, it’s not going to happen.
Boldin has been known to take a hard stance when it comes to negotiating. That’s why he didn’t budge and never blinked when the Ravens asked him to take a pay cut. He wanted the $6M scheduled under the terms of his contract.
In retrospect Ozzie Newsome would have to admit the move didn’t work out the way he had hoped. The money saved by trading Boldin was not distributed efficiently. But while the shopping spree that included the acquisitions of Michael Huff, Marcus Spears and Chris Canty can be fairly labeled as “bad buys”, Newsome will never admit the thought process behind the trade was flawed.
During the State of the Ravens presser, Ozzie said as much in so many words when asked if Terrell Suggs would return in 2014.
“We let a good football player go last year (Boldin), so we’re not afraid. I’m not a virgin when it comes to letting guys walk out the door. What we’ll do is we’ll look at every aspect of it and see what’s best for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Ravens and then make that decision once we get to it.”
Give the Ravens credit for trading Boldin and at least getting something in return – a 6th round pick. That pick was used to move up and get Arthur Brown.
But judging from the confidence in Ozzie’s statement above you might conclude that if given the same set of circumstances, he’d make the trade again and again.
Hindsight paints a clearer picture. The Ravens didn’t count on the injuries to Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones. They thought that Tandon Doss would finally step up. And let’s face it, no one anticipated the train wreck that was the Ravens running game.
The team recognizes that they need a playmaker at receiver but bringing Boldin back isn’t the answer. Coming off a season when he was named the 49ers MVP while producing numbers that he never approached as a Raven (85 catches, 1,179 yards, 7 TD’s), Boldin will take a hardline stance and demand money the Ravens would not think about paying a 34-year old receiver, particularly when they already have a few aging players drawing big paychecks who aren’t performing to the levels of their contracts.
They will look to go younger, faster and more explosive. Newsome explains.
“We need to be able to get a receiver – whether it’s a tight end or a wide receiver – that can make a third-and-7, third-and-8 catch and run after the catch.”
Ironically Boldin was 12th in the league with 439 yards after catch but let’s not take lightly the presence of Colin Kaepernick whose mobility spreads the field and forces defenders to stay home just a little longer. That and the formidable 49ers rushing attack opens up running lanes for receivers and Boldin obviously took advantage.
In the end it was a nice 3-year run for Boldin in Baltimore and he helped the Ravens earn a second Super Bowl Championship, their second in 13 seasons.
But that ship has sailed. Like it or not the Ravens have moved on.
And so too should their fans.