Counterpoint: Letting Boldin walk isn’t as bad as it seems


Tony Lombardi says the Ravens need to bring Q back. Here’s another take.

I know what I’m about to write won’t be the popular opinion in Baltimore but all I ask is that you hear me out.

Earlier today, USA Today reported that Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin had rejected an offer to reduce his salary and will likely be released before the start of Tuesday’s free agency period. Without a doubt, the Ravens wouldn’t have hoisted the Lombardi trophy last month without his efforts, but clearly his $7.531 million cap figure for 2013 is a pill far too large to swallow.

Boldin’s play during the four playoff games it took the Ravens to win Super Bowl XLVII was stellar to say the least; however, I cannot allow it to cloud my judgment of the average-at-best regular season he produced prior to the playoffs.

Popular opinion around Charm City is to retain Boldin and many want to retain him no matter what, even if it accounts for greater than $7 million towards the Ravens’ upcoming salary cap. Personally, I would be happy to see Boldin return, but absolutely only under the condition that it’s at a drastically reduced cap figure.

Prior to the playoffs, Boldin produced 921 yards and pulled in four touchdown passes during the regular season. While Boldin had the most yards of his Ravens tenure, but he was still three touchdowns shy of what he produced during his first season in Baltimore.

For those concerned with Boldin’s potential impending absence affecting Baltimore’s $120 million investment in quarterback Joe Flacco – everything will be okay. Boldin had acted as Flacco’s security blanket to jump-start the offense but the same concern was presented after Derrick Mason’s release in 2010.

Just as Boldin became a reliable target for Flacco, it’s time for the transition to Torrey Smith, the wide receiver the Ravens have invested a second-round pick in and have seen blossom into one of the young wideout superstars in the league today.

Personally, I’d rather see more balls thrown to Smith than to Boldin.

Smith has shown he is ready for an increased workload and he is prepared to become the clear-cut #1 receiver on the team.

If Boldin does indeed walk out of Baltimore, his $6 million base salary can be better spent elsewhere. The Ravens are roughly $12 million under the salary cap heading into free agency and have plenty of holes to fill on their defense, regardless of whether or not they’re able to resign linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

The Ravens will still have to assign tenders to restricted free agents like tight ends Dennis Pitta (likely a second-round, $2 million) and Ed Dickson (likely 3rd round) and Arthur Jones (likely 2nd round, $2 million). Heading into the draft, they also have 11 picks and will have to sign the newest additions to the team to contracts as well.

Freeing Boldin’s $6 million base salary greatly helps the Ravens retain some of their drafted talent who could be snatched away by other teams, and resign one of the top tier free agent linebackers already familiar with their system.

In a way, Boldin brought this upon himself when he stated after the season that he would retire if the Ravens relased him rather than go to another team. This planted the seed in the organization’s mind that they could offer him less money and he would likely accept. Now we find out that is not the case.

With wide receivers well below Boldin’s caliber – like Brian Hartline of the Miami Dolphins, who recently signed for 5 years and $30.775 million dollars – commanding so much on the open market, Boldin may have looked around and reconsidered his “retirement” stance.

Many say “Trust in Ozzie,” but when it comes to wide receivers he’s consistently missed. However, letting Boldin walk to solidify other areas of the team may be a “win” even though it goes against popular sentiment.

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About Kris Jones

Kris Jones
Kris - or "Goob" as he's widely known - has turned an obsession into a career. As a media member by day and super fan by night, he reports from the Under Armour Performance Center twice per week and brings Ravens news from a fan's perspective. His popular YouTube series...more

22 Raves on “Counterpoint: Letting Boldin walk isn’t as bad as it seems

  1. Michael Allred on said:

    Kris, you make some points, but I might argue that Boldin’s numbers WOULD have been much better if Flacco had been playing in the form he played during the playoffs. I think a lot of the responsibility for Q’s numbers lie at Flacco’s feet. Just a thought…

    • Sauce on said:

      Don’t agree that Boldin is same as when we released Mason. When we released Mason we had another “possession” receiver which was Boldin.

      Who would the possession receiver be now, it definitely isn’t either Jacoby Jones or Torrey Smith.

      • Greg on said:

        Mason was also 35-36 and Q is 32-33. Kind of a big difference to me. Q seems to have playing ability left. Its not like he was out with injury this year. When Caldwell came in, Q produced even more. Im not happy about his pending release.

  2. Dan on said:

    Thank you! Someone that understands that this move, as saddening as it may be, is the only practical decision the Ravens can make. #1 priority right now is Dannell Ellerbe.

  3. Josh on said:

    Who takes Boldin’s slot position in those crucial third-and-short situations? Doss?? Come on. That’s the question that will be tough to answer if we let Boldin walk. I understand what you are saying about Torrey, but he’s the deep option. Boldin can’t get separation anymore, but his toughness over the middle and on the short outs will be tough to replace. He replaced Mason for those situations. Who replaces Boldin?

  4. Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

    Kris, you claim Boldin’s season was average at best prior to that playoff stretch run (and I don’t disagree) but wasn’t Flacco’s season up to that point just as average? Didn’t both players flourish with a new play-caller? Is a 115 catch, 1,261 yard, 11 TD season average? That’s what Boldin’s numbers would be project to over 16 games if he held true to his weekly averages under offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.

    I’ll reserve final judgment (if in fact Boldin leaves) in September when the Ravens take the field with their 53 man roster. But given his on-the-field leadership, toughness, rapport with Flacco and his blocking (see 4th and 29), the structure I presented returns Boldin to the Ravens and does reduce the cap number significantly (over $3M). In my book, that’s a win-win!

  5. Dave Harrington on said:

    Seems like the Ravens may be banking on the fact that not many (any) teams will pay a 32 year old receiver the kind of money he is looking for. Not unlike the move they made with Ray Lewis a few years ago.

  6. MomaRaven99 on said:

    This PURE RIDICULOUS Boldin should be given the salary .. He has been CONSISTENT !! However, Flacco will not , I repeat ,, will not be as effective as he was in the playoffs. We paid this man $120 million for his inconsistency throughout the season? yes he did great in the playoffs but Bouldin however did exceptionally well in the playoffs and regular season. We will see come next season if we allow Quan to go it will be detrimental to the Ravens!

  7. Teresa on said:

    While I understand the business side of things, I would truly hate to lose BOLDIN and face him down the line wearing different colors than purple & black. The man deserves the money he was promised. I understand we are under a salary cap crunch and will have to work magic, but that’s why we have the WIZARD OF OZZIE. If it can be done, he will get it done. If it can’t be done, we will lose one of the people who helped the phrase PLAY LIKE A RAVEN mean something.

  8. Rob on said:

    u forget that boldin has much stronger hands than any receiver on the ravens roster. torey smiths hand still have much improvement needed you obvisiously have not been watchin the same game play ive been seeing.

  9. mystery man on said:

    This is all generated because of the poor contracts given to Suggs , Gnata and Rice,,,,,,,,,,did you see their performance in the playoffs,,,,,,,,,,,,try paying the players that actually perform in the big games not fumble or do the ‘no-show shuffle’……………..
    Boldin and Ellerbe should be paid and the other mentioned contracts reworked , the truth hurts sometimes , these three guys are WAY over paid and Ozzie has made this situation terrible , he has always paid too much on the defensive side of the ball , he doesn’t have a clue on how to balance the cap,,,this year will prove it,,,,,,just watch…………….If you really watched the playoffs , the highest paid players did’nt contribute much and most of the players that actually won the ring are about to be released,,,,,,,,,,poor management at best……………

    Ozzie has been his own worst enemy on this present cap situation,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • Ravens One on said:

      I completely agree with mystery man! Suggs, Ngata, and Rice are all overpaid. Ngata has been hurt the last 2 seasons. Rice tends to fade as the season comes to a close and his problems are well documented the last 3 years in the playoffs. The Ravens can’t make any moves on any of them though. When/if Boldin is released, I wil see this FO very differently. Wait, I already see it that way based on this drama surrounding Boldin’s contract.

      Some of the lustre is being lost………..

  10. The Hut Guy on said:

    I like your analysis of the Boldin situation and according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN there aer a fleet of receivers available in the draft. Keeping Pitta, Dickson and Jones would be better sense. I for one do not want tosee a repeat of the end of the 2001 debaucle when at the first preseas on game I was cheering for”Who Dat ?” !

  11. Ravens One on said:

    Blasphemy! Let’s start with Torrey Smith. What is Smith? A 7/8/9 route WR. Smith is an average route runner who has trouble adjusting to balls, has difficulty throttling down in/out of breaks, has problems getting off press, is a pure finesse player and takes plays off when he is asked to block in the run game. I think those that see Smith as a #1 WR capable of dominating week to week are fooling themselves. Smith is not consistently great at any one thing. Does Torrey Smith have a #1 WR mentality? A #1 WR’s has some D.A.W.G. in ‘em. Where is that in Torrey Smith’s game?

    It will be a huge mistake if Anquan Boldin is not on the 2013 roster. For all this talk about Boldin not having speed to get down the field, go look it up, Boldin had the most 20 plus yard plus plays on the team last year. Boldin led the team five times in receiving yards during the regular season and twice during the playoffs. Anquan Boldin took over games despite not being emphasized (that’s how it looks) in the game plans of Cam Cameron. We know what occurred when Jim Caldwell took the reigns as OC.
    Leach and Jacoby Jones should take pay cuts. Both are part-time players. The Ravens are wrong to play hardball with Anqaun Boldin? As Boldin has stated, ‘my play speaks for it’s self”.

  12. matt on said:

    Boldin would be in the final year of his contract. There is no way they’d him long term after it runs out, so with that in mind, if you have to release him a year early then so be it. I’d like to see him return but they can’t bring everyone back. Will have to look elsewhere for a possession receiver.

  13. bacchys on said:

    When Mason was released, we had a receiver with a history that showed he could step into that role. We don’t have that receiver on the roster today. Doss would seem to be the closest, and he’s not shown he’s ready for that role. Smith is not like Boldin. He also isn’t a superstar. He’s a fast (very fast) receiver who has made some great plays. He’s also disappeared at times, especially against press coverage. He has quite a bit more to learn about the NFL before he’s ready to step into Boldin’s shoes as the main man on the receiving corps.

    As essential as Boldin has been, that’s far from the only consideration and it’s far from the most important. The team as a whole has to be considered and the weight of his cap number compared to the cap as a whole. It’s quite possible that the team is better without Boldin than with him in 2013 because of the players the Ravens can retain or acquire if they release him or otherwise reduce his cap hit. That’s why they asked him to take a pay cut.

    What I haven’t heard- although many seem to act is if this is the case- is that the Ravens sought to extend his contract and restructure his deal to lessen the cap hit. I’ve only heard that they asked him to take a pay cut and he refused. Those two things aren’t identical. I’ll continue to hold out hope that Ozzie and Boldin can come to an agreement which keeps Boldin in black-and-purple where he belongs and helps the team field competitive players in the upcoming season and beyond.

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