The Ravens should not trade for Anquan Boldin. Yes he is a dynamic receiver who can score touchdowns, I know because he helped me win my fantasy league last year. Boldin suffered a broken jaw and came back to play last season, so we know he is tough, and he accumulated 89 grabs for 1,038 yards and 11 TD’s despite missing time due to the gruesome injury. He hasn’t proven to be a malcontent like other big name receivers, but he is very envious of his teammate Larry Fitzgerald’s contract and thinks he should be similarly compensated. Boldin is a strong guy with a lot of YAC potential and I am sure that Cam Cameron could use him in very creative ways.
The crux of the situation is the Cardinal’s price tag for acquiring him. Somehow they have decided that every general manager in the league is as foolhardy as Jerry Jones and they are seeking a 1st and 3rd round pick similar to what the Cowboys gave up last year in their trade for Roy Williams. That move may pay dividends for the ‘Boys this year but the returns are not in as of yet, and I think that a similar move by the Ravens may be unpredictable as well. The Ravens made it to the AFC Championship game last year with the core group of guys currently on the roster, and Ozzie Newsom has actually hit on more first round picks than he has missed during his tenure with the Ravens. Which is something very few, if any executives can say during that same time. Personally I would rather take the chance that Ozzie will find a gem, regardless of position, at 26 who will play for the team for ten years, than trade for Boldin who has about five high level years left. Boldin is approaching 30 which is generally the start of decline in many players.
There are other potential hurdles in the Ravens’ quest for Boldin, including their current salary cap situation. If the Ravens do trade for him they will have to cut some other players in order to sign him to the extension worth the type of money he desires. This will reduce the depth that Ozzie has worked hard to build in the off-season through free agency. If the Ravens could somehow sweet-talk the Cardinals into accepting a second round pick and either Willis McGahee or Todd Heap (or even better both and a lower pick) then they could clear enough cap space to sign Boldin. Trading these players however also has potentially negative salary cap implications.
If the Ravens were to sign Boldin for the money he expects than it will surely create problems in the locker room. Terrell Suggs has wanted a contract extension for what he perceives as his market value for two years now. During that time he has never complained or whined openly to the media, asked to be traded, or become a distraction in any way to his team, the same cannot be said for Boldin. In my estimation if the Ravens trade for Boldin and give him what he is asking for then Suggs will have a legitimate beef with the organization. He has done everything asked of him but if he is slapped in the face like that I feel a divided contentious looker room may result.
Suggs will not be the only Raven veteran who will be dismayed by this course of events. Derrick Mason will also assuredly be upset because he too would like a contract extension, and like Suggs he has been a consummate professional in his time here. Mason also played through a significant injury last year having suffered a torn labrum and scapula in week 10; however he was sill able to total 80 receptions for 1037 yards and 5 TD’s. Mason’s age (35) and his injury may soon catch up with him but he has seemed to improve each year of his career with the Ravens.
The Ravens need to upgrade their receiving corps, preferably with a go-to-guy who can stretch the field, but Anquan Boldin is not the answer. The problems I have enumerated weigh heavily in the favor of his acquisition as a negative prospect going forward and unless things change in the very near future it is simply a bad idea. The Ravens should continue to build through the draft and see how things transpire before they go all willy-nilly and trade away their future for a bunch of potential problems. Last but certainly not least remember that Haloti Ngata is going to also need a new contract soon and he will surely command top dollar.