Your Monday Reality Check: In Ozzie we trust, with Boldin we’ve won

March 11, 2013 | Glenn Clark

If the Ravens made some type of fair extension offer to the receiver and he simply balked in hopes of reaching free agency once more a year from now (a scenario that seems unlikely), I would find myself supportive of the organization’s effort. If instead the team simply asked Boldin to play for lesser money this season in the hope he would prefer that to free agency (similar to how the team was able to get money back from OT Bryant McKinnie before the start of the 2012 season) I would be forced to take issue.

A “cap to bonus” conversion/extension regularly happens with players teams respect and want to have around for awhile. The Patriots regularly make such moves with QB Tom Brady, allowing national media types to fawn all over the “selflessness” of the quarterback to accept the cuts that are ultimately most likely to pay him more money.

A true salary slash happens with players that teams believe are on the decline and are no longer worthy of the contract they originally agreed to give them. There are cap penalties for doing as such with every player, meant to prevent teams from treating contracts as year by year tryouts. Teams do not regularly attempt to simply slash the salaries of their most important players, as they know well that the players can choose instead to hit the open market and may well prefer what they find once they get there.

Boldin has a (roughly) $7.5 million cap figure in 2013 but the Ravens would pay just a $1.5 million penalty were they to release him. That represents a cap savings of $6 million, a number the team is particularly interested in working with in order to be proactive in addressing other areas of need-including a new deal for UFA LB Dannell Ellerbe.

The reaction to the Boldin situation has heard large majorities of Ravens fans screaming either “Ozzie needs to do something, we can’t lose Anquan!” or something more along the lines of “so what? This team has let Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Jarret Johnson, Ben Grubbs and more go in the last few years and they’ve been fine! In Ozzie We Trust!”

I know you’re going to be stunned, but the practical response is-as always-much more somewhere in between.

You’ve never heard me say that, have you?

I would personally lean much closer to the first group. I think it’s fair to say that despite not posting a 1,000 yard receiving season since arriving to Baltimore, Boldin has been everything the team could have hoped for when they dealt for him.

Some Ravens fans incorrectly believed Boldin would be a more Larry Fitzgerald-like #1 receiver type capable of posting massive fantasy football numbers based on the Kurt Warner-driven offense he was a part of with the Arizona Cardinals. Boldin has instead excelled in a role more similar to those played in the past by the likes of Heap or Mason; offering a reliable target to QB Joe Flacco while using parts of the field not every receiver is capable of excelling in.

It was never more evident than the Ravens’ Super Bowl run, as Boldin’s 22 catches, 380 yards and four TD’s were a main catalyst in a historic playoff run for both Flacco and the team.

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