Trade of Q Gets an F

anquan boldin colts

Anquan Boldin.

The mere mention of his name in your friendly neighborhood sports pub will trigger debate amongst Ravens fans. Most will question GM Ozzie Newsome’s wisdom (or lack thereof) in trading Q for a 6th round pick. Terrell Suggs appeared on NFL Network last night practically busting out of his suit jacket given his bloated stature and mocked the deal.

(Careful there, Sizzle. You could be next.)

Some will defend Ozzie’s decision and say with confidence that the move paved the way for needed reinforcements on defense. The $6M cap savings gave the Ravens a little extra juice for Joe Flacco’s new deal and it made the acquisitions of Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty, Daryl Smith, Marcus Spears and Michael Huff possible.

I bought what Ozzie was selling, deferring to his well-chronicled resume and football acumen, despite my initial thoughts to the contrary.

Back in March I offered a solution for keeping Q and creating cap space. Boldin’s game isn’t built on speed. He has mastered the art of making contested catches and therefore separation isn’t as critical for him given his great ball skills, positioning and technique. In other words, his productivity could be sustained for another 2-3 seasons.

In hindsight the move was one of Ozzie’s worst. The “right player, right price” equation flunked miserably. Not only was Q’s production in San Francisco like salt in the wound (85 catches, 1,179 yards, 7TD’s), his loss was exacerbated by the very disappointing performances of Messrs. Canty, Spears and Huff, two of which were released well before season’s end.

Making matters still worse was the re-signing of Vonta Leach who accounted for $1.47M of wasted cap space. Leach took just 230 snaps in 2013 down considerably from his 579 snaps in 2012.

Even if Boldin had stayed, the season’s outcome may not have been much different given the wretched performances of the offensive line and the running game. However the argument could be made that adding Q to the mix of Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones may have loosened things up just enough to pave the way for at a serviceable ground attack.

Maybe Boldin could have made a difference of 1 or 2 wins.

The truth is we’ll never know for sure.

But in the end, like any good leaders, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh will learn from this mistake and use the painful lesson to improve moving forward.

If not the team’s owner will make the next lesson even more painful.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

35 Raves on “Trade of Q Gets an F

  1. KO on said:

    In hindsight – yes – it was probably a bad decision in the short term. Ozzie is entitled to a mulligan though. I remember the fan meltdown when we let Mason, Heap, Gregg, Redding, Zbkowski, Thomas, Carr, Landry and some others go. Ozzie gets it right way more often than wrong. He blew it with Q this season. However, I tend to try and look at the upside on things. We packaged that 6th round pick we got from San Francisco to move up in the second round to grab Arthur Brown. Marlon Brown played really well this season and would not have gotten 600+ live NFL snaps with Q on the roster. Elvis was on his way to having a monster season until he got hurt. If those three guys turn out to be key components on another championship caliber squad……the trade might end up being worth it over the longer term. Time will tell. You can’t always measure the full impact of a trade until 2 or 3 years down the road. I love Boldin. He gave us three great years, was an integral piece of the Super Bowl puzzle and I am glad he finally got a ring. I hope he gets another one. Face it – the right two teams are in the AFC Championship. New England and Denver were the 1 & 2 seeds and clearly the most complete teams in the conference. Baltimore was going to take a step back after turning over 1/3 of the roster. Perhaps they may have been able to squeak out an additional win or two with Q and slip into the playoffs, but my heart tells me they would not have done any damage. I am cool with 8-8 and the 16th/17th pick. This team was 5-11 and had not won a playoff game in 7 seasons before Harbs & Flacco arrived. They have been making all the right moves over one of the best 5 year runs in the NFL this century. If they misfired on Bolidin- OK – they get a pass from me (and as I said above time will still tell if there is still an upside on this deal). BTW – Q is a free agent at the end of the year. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he finds his way back here for one more year.

    • Anonymous on said:

      I have to question 2 things. Why we traded him for nothing Bc we released the players that we signed in place of Boldins 6 million dollar salary. Then he put up better numbers than he ever did here which makes me ask. How come we never utilized Boldin the right way.

      • Chip on said:

        It’s my understanding that otherwise we were going to be forced to cut him, therefore getting nothing. At least this way got us a draft pick, which, given Ozzie’s usual good luck with that – would’ve been decent.

  2. Coachj13 on said:

    Key phrase “The truth is we’ll never know for sure.”

    But you still can’t resist acting as if you do – grading a move whose impact extends beyond just the one season we’ve seen so far

  3. Ben P on said:

    How quickly we forget. Remember that the whole thing started with Q’s (in hindsight ill-advised and wrong) public comment that he wanted to retire as a Raven and would probably retire rather than play for any other team. That’s football-speak for “I’ll take a paycut to stay here.” Problem is, when the Ravens asked him to take a paycut, he said no. You don’t think that leads to hurt feelings and bad blood?

    Yes, the Ravens could have kept him, but they would have been keeping a Boldin who was very unhappy to be stuck with a team that he thought had insulted him. The 9ers are playing with a Boldin who has something to prove. Maybe Boldin could have given us 1 or 2 more wins, or maybe he would have looked completely washed up and put out no effort.

    Before you blame Ozzie for this whole ordeal, you have to remember the circumstances in which he made the trade.

    • Lionel on said:

      That isn’t “football-speak” for saying you will take a pay cut. Total nonsense. It is: I like the team, I just contributed mightily to a ring, my performance deserves the money I am scheduled to receive in 2013, and I would be very interested in an extension if cap space is an issue.

      The Ravens did not even discuss an extension (which is a way to keep a valuable player and also tweak 2013′s cap). Instead they inanely asked for a pay cut that was totally 100% undeserved. You ask for pay cuts when you feel the price tag is more than the performance being delivered. You do not ask for an insulting pay cut, because you need cap space and the player’s deserved salary happens to be high.

      Ozzie can easily be blamed, and Q cannot be blamed at all. After the playoff run, he was worth the salary, and if cap space was the issue (not value), then an extension was what he wanted (and intimated with his talk about wanting to retire a Raven).

  4. Gordo on said:

    ITA with KO’s analysis above. That said, I don’t think folks in the Castle expected Dennis Pitta to be out nearly the entire year. I think that was a factor in trading Anquan. They felt he could fill in some of the loss of production Boldin would have provided.

  5. HotInHere on said:

    The problem with the extension you proposed is that from Anquan’s point of view, he knows he’s never going to see that third year. So ‘s that it’s typical of the “kicking the can down the road” mentality that the Ravens avoid at all costs. It’s never been a question of whether Anquan was an excellent receiver who could help this team. It’s been a question of whether that excellent receiver is worth the substantial cap space he takes up, versus where else it could be spent. And in your proposed contract extension, you’re left with the same decision in two years, and that’s IF you can sign Q for what is effectively $2MM a year for two years.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      It’s not the same decision in 2 years. It would be much easier to walk away from a soon to be 35 year old Boldin than a 33 year old Boldin.

    • Lionel on said:

      Since his 2013 salary was $6M and Tony suggested a 3-year deal for $14M, then the extension would have been $4M per year for two years, not $2M. Your wording is a bit vague, but even if you are talking about 2013-2014, he gets $9M over those years (also not $2M per).

      Boldin may have still balked at the $4M per year extension, considering his playoff run and confidence, or he may have balked at the $3M base for 2014, but that is what negotiating is for, to find out where everyone stands. And we didn’t even attempt it.

      Not all extensions can be considered “kicking the can down the road.” What the Ravens avoid is borrowing a lot of future cap space for present years for players that have big names but dwindling production. This case does not apply. The amount of “borrowing” we are talking about is minuscule, and the production was not dwindling but increasing (so much so that Flacco got a very-possibly-an-albatross contract out of the increase).

      A short, fair-for-all extension that smoothed out the cap hits over the next few years would not have been can-kicking in any way, unless you assume Boldin’s 2013 and beyond performance was destined to plummet, and plummet quickly. Which obviously Ozzie did to some extent, considering he did not even make a real effort to find a replacement. It is this last assumption where Ozzie messed up.

    • Lionel on said:

      The 6th round pick was for last year’s draft. And it was traded to move up, as Tony said. And regardless of what Boldin does “this weekend,” he has already settled the question about whether he can still play.

  6. RAYVENRAYG on said:

    Given any other better possibility I would not have done it but given Q would’t take paycut and we couldn’t restock defense like we did and still afford to pay his price, so it had to be done or he walks and we get nothing in return for the loss of a valuable man. Awesome pass catcher teammate yes!! Miracle man with our team he would have had around him ???. There is no way to prove he would have been able to produce for us like he did for the 49ers when we had no run game to help play action and terrible oline play to have time to throw to him. He disapeared from time to time for us against a team or two while he was here and we had a good line & running game then. Also after last years proof how valuable he was to us most opponents DC’s would be taking him away with double teams & coverage schemes so its not assured that he couldor would have been as productive this year. With what we were facing with staff turnover the decision had to go the way it did. We love the Q but his right to fair pay trumped giving a discount to try and to repeat with our team & maybe get his second ring.

    • Pete on said:

      By that logic, San Francisco’s opponents should also have been taking him away with double teams & coverage schemes, and yet he was highly productive there, while earning the same base salary as he would have had here — and also having a much better chance for getting a second ring. If our opponents had double-teamed him, then some of other receivers would have had a better chance to get open and be more productive.

  7. mark on said:

    what if this was the plan all along….Ozzie recently said that he knew what kind of receiver they were looking for or going to target,,what if it is and always has been Q..they were tight on the cap this past year having to get get Flacco done and rebuild the him to a contender..get something for him rather than keep him at his current salary and get nothing..with both sides agreeing and having the intention to try and work out a fair deal for the next two seasons..

  8. purpleneonexpress on said:

    I remember driving down the road, listening to Zinno butchering up another show on 105.7 when it was announced that the Ravens had traded Boldin.


    Couldn’t believe it.

    And did you notice how fast Boldin was gone?

    Like real fast, like lil Johnny Harballs wanted him gone gone gone and fast.

    Anquan: Sorry Ozzie, no way I’m taking a pay cut…..two seconds later……gone.

    This move never made sense, anyway you look at it, other than lil Johnny wanted all the loudmouths gone and Ravens jumped at the chance to dump that rat troublemaker……and fast.

    Given the Ravens horrendous history of drafting wide receivers, you’d think Ozzie might say, we got a keeper here, lets go with him and cut in other areas. Nope…..gone fast as a lighting strike.

    Ravens shot themselves in the foot twice last year before the season started.

    #1 bullet was the Castillo hire and the resulting clusterbuck that ruined the offensive line FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON.

    #2 bullet, gifting Boldin to the 49′ers for a case of Gatorade.

    Lots of pressure next season pressing down on Harbaugh, here’s hoping he doesn’t paint himself deeper in to the corner.

  9. B Diddy on said:

    I’m getting sick of these Anquan Boldin bad trade articles. we wouldn’t have won anything with him here anyway so what would be the point of keeping him? The o line sucked. Is Q gonna play Right Guard or Center? No! We have too many high paid vets so we had to get cheaper talent. I love Q as a player but as unfortunate as it is, it was the right move. Until the NFL changes the salary cap, these moves will have to be made to stay competitive.

    • Pete on said:

      We might not have won even one playoff game, but there’s a real good chance that *with* Boldin we at least make the playoffs again. We lost three games this year by only one field goal where we *also* had a drive stall out around the red zone, and then had to kick a very short field goal. Even if Boldin made no net difference for the entire rest of the season, just one or two of his clutch catches on any of those three drives, getting a Ravens touchdown instead of a field goal just once in any one of those three games, would have been enough to put the Ravens into the playoffs again this year. And that’s despite our offensive line. That’s the point of having kept him. And once into the playoffs, who knows what the Ravens might be able to accomplish. They clearly rose to the occasion last year.

  10. B Diddy on said:

    Get in the playoffs to lose a game? that’s pointless, the goal is to win it all and to win in January you need to run effectively which is something we didn’t do this year.

    • Pete on said:

      Nevertheless, not making the playoffs for a sixth straight year is what all the moaning and groaning in the press has been all about — that’s what my comment was responding to. As I said, once you *do* make the playoffs, anything can happen.

      • Pete on said:

        … we don’t disagree about the running game, by the way — but that’s a separate question from whether or not Boldin should have been kept on with the Ravens.

        • B Diddy on said:

          I gotcha. Q is one of my favorite players. he’s a linebacker that plays WR. i wish we could’ve kept him, but part of me thinks that we need a high draft pick to reload. I guess most will disagree with me but going to the playoffs with an offensively flawed team didn’t excite me. I

  11. Nick B. on said:

    I didn’t hate the move then, and I don’t hate it too much even now. Mostly because my preference was for them to do a 2yr extension. I don’t think having him for just this year would have been the difference between winning the SB or not. Going to the playoffs or not, sure, but not winning it all.

    In that case, I’d preferred for them to extend and have him around to help in 2014 and 2015, or let him go and use the money for new pieces like Dumervil & Canty who will be here a while.

    The Spears/Huff/Leach moves definitely did not make good use of the space.

    • Pete on said:

      I don’t think anyone who strongly wanted him to stay, in the first place, would disagree that a 2-yr extension would have been the preferred option. That would have been my preference too.

      • B Diddy on said:

        I agree. Hopefully we can do an extension and bring down T Sizzle’s cap number.
        If he goes so does a big chunk of the pass rush.

  12. JerryB on said:

    Tony, you honestly believe Boldin would have made a difference to the Ravens offense this year? Because, if you do, I would argue that a healthy Pitta would have provided much of what Boldin provided in his years here which, with the exception of the Super Bowl run last year, weren’t even close to what he’s accomplished in the Niner’s offense! At the time the trade was made, there was every reason to believe that our offense would not be much different than that which won the Super Bowl. But circumstances beyond anyone’s control, coupled with circumstances that were badly handled and poor coaching, led to the demise of the offense. And, as easy as it is to speculate in retrospect on what may have been , given the state of the offense this year, no one player, including Boldin, would have made a difference……

  13. Donta on said:

    Even with this move Ozzie Newsome is still one of the BEST GM`s in pro sports the record speaks for itself Anquan Boldin can not take that sorry.

  14. Jon Fazzone on said:

    Its OK Guys…Ozzie made a BAD Call…Wasn’t his 1st,Won’t be his Last…Coming off a Super Bowl Win He just made one move to Many…Followed it up with an Average Draft and Free Agent Class…He Can Make it Right…He has before but HE, Ozzie opened himself up to this by Trading Q and He can Change This…Like he Usually Does…Go Ravens…Go Ozzie

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