Ravens want Boldin to take pay cut to prevent being released

March 09, 2013 | Luke Jones

The Ravens awarded quarterback Joe Flacco with the richest contract in NFL history but are asking his primary receiver to take a cut in pay if he wants to remain with the organization in 2013.

As first reported by Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, wide receiver Anquan Boldin has been asked to take a pay cut to prevent being released by the start of free agency on Tuesday. The 32-year-old is scheduled to make $6 million in base salary and carries a $7.53 million number for the 2013 salary cap.

Much of Flacco’s postseason success correlated with the outstanding play of the veteran receiver, who caught 22 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns. The touchdown productivity matched his regular-season output of four that went along with 65 catches for 921 yards in 15 games.

Boldin said in an interview with NBC Sports last month that he would retire if he were to be released by the Ravens after catching six passes for 104 yards and the first touchdown of Super XLVII. However, a USA Today report indicates Boldin has rejected the Ravens’ request and is preparing to become a free agent.

It’s been speculated that the Ravens would explore an extension that could flip his $6 million base salary into a bonus — thus lowering his 2013 cap number — but an extension was not on the table as of Saturday afternoon.

Needless to say, the loss of Boldin would be a major blow to the Baltimore offense as the veteran shines from the slot and is the Ravens’ most consistent receiver. There’s always the possibility that the organization is playing hardball with the wideout as they wouldn’t need to release the veteran to be in compliance with the salary cap, but it’s clear general manager Ozzie Newsome is looking to create more flexibility for the Ravens to be active in free agency.

Boldin is entering the final season of a four-year, $25 million contract signed upon arriving in Baltimore through a trade with the Arizona Cardinals in 2010.

The Ravens have just over $12 million in cap space following the release of veteran guard Bobbie Williams on Friday, but that doesn’t included the anticipated tenders for their restricted free agents. Baltimore is focused on re-signing inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe to a long-term contract, but unrestricted free agents are now allowed to begin negotiating with all 32 teams ahead of the start of the signing period at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.