There are four main scenarios that can potentially play out for Boldin and the Ravens in the coming days.
1-The parties can agree on a cap conversion/contract extension that lessens Boldin’s salary burden for 2013 but keeps him in Purple and Black for the next few years.
2-Boldin can accept a simple salary slash from the team in 2013 to pursue a second consecutive Lombardi Trophy before choosing free agency or retirement.
3-The Ravens could allow Boldin to play for the $7.5 million salary number in 2013 and attempt to free up money elsewhere. FB Vonta Leach and WR/KR Jacoby Jones had previously been believed to be potential cap casualties.
4-The Ravens could release Boldin, allowing him to choose between retirement (unlikely) or signing elsewhere (significantly more likely).
Any of the first three scenarios work for me. The fourth would be very difficult to swallow at this point.
I’m not saying I’m blindly throwing my support behind Boldin in this scuffle between player and team. While Boldin has been a guest on my show “The Reality Check” some five or six times over the course of the last year, I do not particularly know him well.
My feeling is simple. I believe that if I want to be visiting New York again next March and bragging about (still) being from the home of the world champs, those possibilities are greatly enhanced by having #81 remain with the Baltimore Ravens. If the team has made a reasonable extension offer to the player and he has simply been unwilling to negotiate in good faith, I would find myself disappointed in Boldin.
If the team is merely asking him to take less money with no long term benefit, I would find myself extremely disappointed with the organization. While I would never suggest I understand the game of football better than the likes of Ozzie Newsome, the mantra of “In Ozzie We Trust” has not played to the tune of an annual Super Bowl title. Mistakes have been made. I would expect this to be one.
And if Boldin is just bullish about his cap number even in the face of an extension offer, I would suggest there are other ways to save the $2 million the team has asked Boldin to give up. With no offense to the All-Pro seasons Jones and Leach had in 2012, Boldin would be at the top of the list of which of the three I’d be most interested in having back for 2013.
We’ll likely know the result in the coming days. My gut tells me that if the sides weren’t going to get something done they would have parted ways by now.
In the meantime, if you’re feeling anxious about the situation I have a suggestion. Pick up a phone. Call a friend outside Baltimore. Remind them that you’re calling from the home of the Super Bowl champions.
The smile on your face won’t go away even if a receiver does.