Multiple sources have suggested that the Baltimore Ravens have approached Anquan Boldin to convince him that a pay cut is in order. That likely comes as no surprise to the Boldin camp. Such deals when originally structured with high backend numbers often end with a re-structure, an extension or another cap casualty.
Before drilling down on contract’s numbers and a proposed alternative, it’s important to take a look at Boldin’s body of work and what the team can expect from him going forward.
At 32 years old clearly Boldin is in the October of his career. But given his style of play and the way in which offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell utilized the physical receiver during the team’s very successful stretch run, speed, or the decline thereof that normally accompanies age, should not be an issue. With Caldwell at the control switch Boldin averaged 7 catches for 79 yards over 6 games with 4 touchdowns. Projected over a full 16 game season that equates to 112 catches for 1,264 yards and 11 TD’s.
Boldin has mastered the art of making a catch even when well covered. If he was a basketball player he’d be Dennis Rodman (without the tackle box of bling on his face of course), controlling the paint with great ball skills, positioning, anticipation and technique.
Therefore it’s safe to say that Boldin could continue to be as productive with battery mate Joe Flacco for another 2 seasons because let’s be honest here…speed isn’t Anquan’s game.
But then there’s this not so little issue, the governing body of the NFL – the salary cap. And Boldin’s $7.531 cap figure is a bloated one. Six million of that figure is Boldin’s scheduled salary for 2013. The balance represents the prorated portion of his original signing bonus.
Boldin is on record saying that if the Ravens release him he’ll likely retire but clearly that could be no more than an emotional response. Yet Baltimore does represent a comfort zone for him on multiple levels and you have to wonder what a receiver who is outrun by linebackers might get in the open market.
So here’s a win-win scenario to consider.
The Ravens give Boldin a new 3-year deal worth $14 Million that includes a $5 Million bonus. That bonus coupled with a $1 Million base for 2013 gives Boldin the same amount of money that he would have received under his original Ravens contract with the added benefit of getting $5 Million up front instead of having it paid over the course of 17 game checks during the season.
The net effect is a cap savings in 2013 of $3.333 Million.
In 2014 Boldin would make $3 Million and in all likelihood he would never see the $5 Million base in 2015 when the Ravens would cut him and take a $1.67 Million cap charge (the bonus pro-ration for 2015).
Here’s the way it would shake out…
* Includes $1,531,250.00 in carry over bonus pro-rations.
Word is that the Ravens were close to releasing Boldin on Friday (yesterday). Alex Marvez from FOXSports.com has reported that the release was so close that a statement from Boldin thanking the fans of Baltimore was in the works. The brakes were pumped on that statement presumably because the two sides are talking.
Hopefully an extension like the one above will work for both sides.
Although it should be noted that Ozzie Newsome was pretty adamant about not engaging in any restructured deals.
Would this kind of deal be considered a restructure or an extension?
If it falls through, what alternatives are out there to replace Anquan?
Come Tuesday, it’s game on!
Hunting season (aka free agency) opens at 4PM.
Brian McFarland contributed to this article