Breaking news late this afternoon has the Ravens trading their 3rd and 4th-round draft picks in this year’s Draft to the Arizona Cardinals for wide receiver Anquan Boldin and a 5th round pick. Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that the Ravens and Boldin have already agreed on a new 4-year deal for $28 million dollars.
Anquan Boldin. A name that has been tossed around in Baltimore for what seems like forever. Now, finally, it is a reality. Entering this offseason, wide receiver was at the top of the Ravens’ list of priorities, as it seemingly has been since Michael Jackson and Derrick Alexander departed Charm City. They started to address the issue last month with the signing of Donte Stallworth – but they obviously weren’t finished their work just by signing a guy who hasn’t played since 2008, and only caught 17 balls that year. Many of the mock drafts had the Ravens picking a wide receiver in April, whether Brandon Lafell, Arrelious Benn, or Golden Tate. Last week some had the Ravens VERY interested in (ugh) T.O., and rumors this week had them looking into Texans’ free agent WR Kevin Walter. Then there were the omnipresent rumblings about Bronco Brandon Marshall.
Early this afternoon, I saw Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times was reporting that the Patriots were the leaders in the clubhouse in the Boldin sweepstakes, with the Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs out of the running. Wilson’s source proved to be mistaken over the next couple hours though, as many, including Wilson, began tweeting that the Pats had ducked out, and the Ravens were now the favorites to land Boldin.
Personally, I believed that Boldin would wind up wearing another shade of red in 2010, in Kansas City. With a bidding war supposedly going on in the desert, I definitely expected it to take AT LEAST a second round pick to acquire Boldin. If this was the case, I figured that Ozzie would go ahead and give up the chase.
Obviously, I was sorely mistaken. Why Kansas City and New England, if they were indeed interested, would not be willing to give up a 3rd and 4th-round pick, as the Ravens were, is beyond me. Whatever. Their loss. Let’s look at what the Ravens have gained.
Name: Anquan Kenmile Boldin
DOB: 10/3/80 (29 years old)
Weight: 217 lb
College: Florida State Seminoles
Drafted: 2003 Round 2 (#54 overall) by the Arizona Cardinals
Career stats, from NFL.com:
One concern with Boldin is regarding his health. As you can see above, he has played in all 16 games just twice in his seven year career. It is not a matter of toughness, that’s for sure. In 2008, Boldin’s face EXPLODED in a game against the New York Jets. He needed surgery to repair the bones in his face, but missed only TWO games. No, Boldin’s problem is that he is, perhaps, TOO tough, if anything. He is a guy that seeks out contact, and prefers to be the one delivering the blow if he finds a defender in his way. As a result, he takes a lot of hits, and gets tweaked fairly often as a result.
The other concern some Ravens fans will voice is that Boldin is not the big deep threat that the Ravens really need. While this is true – Boldin is more of a yards-after-the-catch guy (one of the best in the NFL, mind you) – if Stallworth can regain the form that he showed several years ago, he and Boldin could be a very well-matched complimentary pair, with Stallworth providing the vertical threat and Boldin catching balls underneath and racking up the YAC. Throw in the fact that this now frees the Ravens up even more with their 1st-round pick this April – perhaps to draft a pass-catching tight end such as Oklahoma’s Jermaine Grisham – and Joe Flacco could suddenly be a very happy man.
And let’s not forget Derrick Mason. Mason, as long as he doesn’t let his “I’m not the number 1 anymore? Forget that!” diva side get the better of him, and resigns in Baltimore, the Ravens’ overall WR corps will be quite formidable.
Those of you that still aren’t convinced that the Boldin move makes the Ravens an instantly better team – I ask you to simply think back to 2007, when Arizona came to M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens took a 20-3 halftime lead, and appeared to be on their way to an easy victory. The Cardinals, though, stormed back and nearly won the game – it took a 46-yard field goal from Matt Stover as time expired to preserve the 26-23 win. The main culprit in the Cardinals’ furious comeback was Mr. Boldin, who had 14 catches for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. Number 81 still has the ability to take over a game, in 2010, like he did in 2007.
I get the feeling that someone, somewhere, is VERY happy about this move…..
Also, Boldin once did this….
which I wouldn’t be sad at all to see him repeat in Pittsburgh one day.