Anquan Boldin told the Palm Beach Post in April that he was “shocked initially” by being traded to the 49ers but I was not.
After back to back 1000 yard seasons in Arizona playing on a dynamic offense lead by Kurt Warner, Boldin signed a 4 year, $25 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens at 29 years old. Since then Boldin has been a mere shadow of his former self posting near career low numbers in catches and yards.
Many fans were outraged on Twitter after news of the trade especially after a brilliant playoff performance that help the Ravens win a Super Bowl. And with right reason, in four playoff games Boldin reeled in 22 catches for 380 yards, and 4 touchdowns, many of those catches in clutch 3rd down situations.
But was this really a bad move?
Baltimore has lost several key players this offseason in addition to Boldin which include: safety Bernard Pollard and guard Bobbie Williams, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe (Miami Dolphins) and Paul Kruger (Cleveland Browns) and cornerback Cary Williams (Philadelphia Eagles), and safety Ed Reed (Houston Texans), and lost linebacker Ray Lewis and center Matt Birk to retirement.
With young nucleus of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and Torrey Smith on offense and Haloti Ngata & Terrell Suggs anchoring the defense, the Ravens are transitioning into a small rebuilding time.
Boldin was scheduled to make $6 million this season which is the sixth highest base salary for a wide receiver in 2013, more than Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, and Hakeem Nicks. Boldin will also be entering his 11th season in the NFL and turns 33 years old week 5 of the 2013 NFL season.
Boldin’s regular season numbers of 65 catches, 921 yards, and 4 TDs clearly do not warrant $6 million but his leadership and clutch playoff performances do; which is why trading him to the San Francisco 49ers makes sense for everybody. Boldin still gets to make great money in the last year of his contact and compete for a championship. The 49ers will get a clutch receiver to help Colin Kaepernick in the passing game and veteran leadership to mentor young 49er wide outs Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham. The Ravens get financial flexibility needed to rebuild their defense and a 6th round pick in which they used to draft a young offensive tackle, Ryan Jensen who could provide more security for their multi-million dollar franchise quarterback, Joe Flacco. This also allows the some of the younger Raven wide receivers, Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson to fully blossom within the offense
Anquan Boldin is great veteran player who still does have some left in the tank, but Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome made a great move not only for the franchise, but for Anquan and the 49ers.