Anquan Boldin, Ravens a perfect match

Anquan Boldin hasn’t caught one pass yet as a Baltimore Raven, but I feel confident enough to say that it’s already a perfect partnership.

The Ravens acquired Boldin and a fifth round pick from the Arizona Cardinals on Friday in exchange for their third and fourth round selections in this year’s draft. Immediately after acquiring the 29-year-old receiver, Baltimore signed him to a four-year, $28 million deal.

The Ravens have been desperately seeking a true No. 1 receiver over the past couple years, while Boldin has wanted to be treated like one. It’s not that he didn’t like playing in Arizona – he just felt as though he should be paid similarly to Larry Fitzgerald, or at least have the opportunity to make No. 1-type money.

Boldin will immediately upgrade Baltimore’s receiving corps and assuming he doesn’t retire, Derrick Mason will make a fine No. 2. Acquiring a legitimate No. 1 receiver was the final piece of the puzzle for GM Ozzie Newsome and while it took a couple years, he finally found one in Boldin. Joe Flacco now has several solid weapons at his disposal in Boldin, Mason and rising star Ray Rice, and will also be protected by an above average offensive line.

While the Cardinals would have loved to keep Boldin paired with Fitzgerald in their dynamic offense, all parties involved in this trade walk away winners. The Ravens got their receiver, Boldin got his money and his No. 1 status, and the Cardinals got fair compensation for a player that didn’t want to be there long-term.

Boldin was a top 10 fantasy receiver in Arizona, and depending on who starts the season as the Ravens’ WR2, he should be a top 10 receiver in Baltimore. If Mason sticks around, it will likely depress the numbers of both players. Also, don’t expect Ray Rice to catch 78 passes again next season. Boldin is going to get a ton of targets and Mason figures to as well.

From Arizona’s point of view, it’s an opportunity for Steve Breaston or Early Doucet to step into the WR2 role and have a big season. Breaston has had the better career, but Doucet played well in the postseason, catching 14 passes for 145 yards and two TD against the Packers and Saints. However, either player’s success will depend directly on how Matt Leinart fares at QB. There’s a good chance that the Cardinals will now focus more on Beanie Wells and the running game. Larry Fitzgerald should continue to be a top 3 fantasy wideout.

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