This just in as reported by the Baltimore Sun:
It is believed the Ravens sent third- and fourth-round picks to the Cardinals in exchange for Anquan Boldin and a fifth-round pick. According to ESPN, Boldin has agreed to a new four-year, $28 million contract.
It is believed the Ravens beat out the Kansas City Chiefs for the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Boldin, who is 6 feet 1, 217 pounds, has averaged 83 catches and six touchdowns in his seven-year career. He could become the top target this season for quarterback Joe Flacco.
“Anquan is a player who makes the tough catches and he is outstanding getting yards after catches,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “He will also help the running game with his blocking skills. He’s a very tough competitor and, with the way he plays with passion, he’ll fit right in with the foundation we have for our team.”
Boldin is one of the most consistent wide receivers, he has produced at least 80 catches and over 1,000 yards receiving in four of the past five seasons.
This was certainly the splash that many fans were hoping for in the waning hours of the first day of free agency even though it was a trade.
It is important to note that some of the details appear a bit sketchy as to the logistics of the deal but that should be cleared up over the next few days. But on the surface it appears to be a solid deal for the Ravens and an improvement to a glaring need.
In order to obtain the former Cardinals receiver Baltimore sends mid-round draft picks, which they could get back later in another trade or in compensatory picks. Once Brandon Marshall was given the high tender that signaled the end of the Ravens interest. Ozzie has a tremendous track record with first rounders and I think giving up that slot would have been a bad idea.
The other sticking point in getting Boldin was signing him to an extension and it appears that that detail is taken care of as well. Now he should be able to focus on reporting healthy and starting to practice timing with Joe Flacco at the mini-camps.
I think the other really interesting point aspect of this deal is to speculate on where that leaves some of the other wide receivers. Marcus Smith is under contract and is set to return from injury. He would be an asset on Special Teams but it remains to be seen if that would be enough to keep him on the squad in 2010. Mark Clayton received the first round tender which all but assures that he’ll be back in Baltimore in some capacity. I was also surprised that Demetrius Williams was given a low tender. It looks to be nothing more than insurance and an invitation to land a spot.
Kelley Washington would seem to be long gone. He’s drawn interest from a few other teams and he’ll sign somewhere where he can get more playing time.
The most interesting player that remains unaccounted for is Derrick Mason. Word is that Mason has drawn some interest from Miami but most sources say that he still has a good relationship with Baltimore and that they are still interested in bringing him back, perhaps to the multi-year deal that he desires. However that was before the Ravens landed Boldin. Does this change the team’s plans?
I still think they would want Mason back but they may just let the Dolphins set his value if there are no other team’s interested. I am however more interested in Mason’s reaction over the next few days. Over the past few seasons, Mason has appeared to make emotional comments on some issues. If you remember Mason wanted a multi-year extension last year around this time even though he was still under contract. After the Ravens signed Donte Stallworth he quickly made it public again of his desire for at least a two year contract to come back to Baltimore. So I’ll be interested to see if Mason plays the Boldin trade in the press as a sign of disrespect to him or if he sees how it helps the team and him at his chance to get a ring before he retires.
Even though I do feel this was a good trade there are some things to be concerned about. First, Boldin’s health could be a concern. He hasn’t had an injury free season since 2003 and he battled knee and ankle injuries this past season. Second, Boldin isn’t the vertical play maker that the Ravens need though they could find a young speedster in the draft. Plus if Donte Stallworth is healthy he may take on the role of deep threat. Boldin’s a tough possession receiver with good hands and a burning passion to compete and he should fit in well even though he publicly has been critical of the Cardinals brass for the past two seasons.
So what do you think? Is this the move that could lead the Ravens to an AFC North championship and beyond or are there still other pieces to the puzzle that have yet to come together?