As expected, the news of Anquan Boldin’s name not being on the Ravens’ 2013 roster has the fan base up in arms. They’re not happy with general manager Ozzie Newsome’s decision to trade away a fan favorite and a key component to the Ravens Super Bowl-winning formula.
While a large contingency of the fan base is ready to jump from the Bay Bridge, humor me for a few moments while I talk you down from the ledge and get you ready for the future state of the Baltimore Ravens.
First off, the Ravens were only able to receive a sixth-round pick in exchange for Boldin. For those claiming that Boldin was worth every penny of his $6 million base salary in 2013, what the Ravens were actually able to get for him was probably a sour serving of humble pie.
Secondly, the Ravens didn’t do wrong by Boldin; professional football is “professional” for a reason – it’s a business. The Ravens shouldn’t be painted as villains – they actually did Boldin a favor. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Less than a week removed from hoisting the Lombardi trophy, Boldin ended up screwing his future in Baltimore over. While he may have had good intentions when saying that he’d rather retire if cut than play anywhere besides Baltimore, Boldin completely stuck his foot in his mouth when it came to any leverage he would have to keeping his current salary with the Ravens.
Boldin was applauded for wearing his emotions on his sleeve, but when your employer doesn’t have a lot of money to spend and is looking for any way to reduce your income, saying you’d rather retire when you clearly can continue to play football for another two seasons gives the Ravens all the leverage in the world. Anyone in sales or big business knows that you can’t blame the Ravens for attempting to capitalize on this situation based on Boldin’s words.
If the 2013 season was uncapped, the Ravens unquestionably would have paid Boldin his $6 million base salary; however there is a salary cap – at least for another eight seasons until the current CBA expires.
Now we come to the part where the Ravens did Boldin a favor.
Newsome and the rest of the front office traded Boldin to a top-tier, clear cut contender in the 49ers. Even though their offer of a sixth-round pick was the best the Ravens got, they are trading him to a team that could once again stand in the Ravens’ way of repeating as Super Bowl champions.
The Ravens reportedly had an offer from the Minnesota Vikings for a seventh-round pick. The Ravens will likely trade the pick they got in return for Boldin in another deal to move up in the draft if Newsome sees fit. The Ravens could have played it safe and made sure trading Boldin would never haunt them again – and perhaps force him into retirement by playing for the Vikings – but they owed him at least enough to trade him to a contender.
The biggest issue I have with everyone freaking out over Boldin’s trade is that prior to the start of the playoffs, Boldin’s release was practically inevitable. A fantastic postseason had the Ravens considering keeping him at $6 million, even though he’s never produced a 1,000 yard season in Baltimore, or scored as many touchdowns (seven) as he did in his first year here.
Keeping Boldin based off his playoff appearance alone is too risky, especially since no Super Bowl Champion within the past eight seasons has won a playoff game the following season.
Trading Boldin doesn’t paint a happy picture following the Ravens’ storybook season, but with the business side of football, these things happen.
At least Boldin still gets his $6 million base salary, and he’ll likely have a better shot at contending for a Super Bowl in 2013 than he would have in Baltimore. I’m not saying that the Ravens don’t have a great chance of repeating, but with the age, talent, salary cap space and draft picks to make moves, the 49ers are in a better position at this point – at least on paper.
I valued Boldin’s contributions to this team just as much as the next guy, but let’s be serious – Boldin was not worth $6 million 2013. It’s fine if you don’t agree, but Ozzie Newsome does – and more often than not, he’s right.
It’ll all work out… Go Ravens!
P.S.- Joe Flacco’s contract has nothing to do with Boldin’s trade. Flacco’s cap value was $800,000 less than what Boldin would have been for 2013.