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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Ravens, Patriots, Chiefs in the mix for Boldin

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Ravens are the front-runners to land receiver Anquan Boldin, although Baltimore beat writer Aaron Wilson writes that the Patriots are the front-runners.


ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Ravens are the front-runners to land Anquan Boldin while Ravens beat writer Aaron Wilson calls the Patriots the favorites.

The Chiefs also in the mix. It’s funny that two Baltimore reports have the Pats as the favorites, possibly to drive up the price on the Ravens. If the cost is still a third-rounder, Boldin is a no-brainer. His next team has him under contract cheaply for the 2010 season with a year to work out a contract. If no deal can be reached, the cost was still just a third-rounder for one season of a possible difference-maker.

The Cardinals did well by setting the asking price for Boldin at a third round pick. Getting multiple teams to bid against each other for the next month will only drive up Boldin’s trade value before the draft, which is when teams will really get desperate.

If it requires throwing in another pick, Ozzie Newsome might want to sweeten his offer (whatever it may be) to ensure Boldin winds up in Baltimore next season. A No. 1 receiver is essentially the last piece of the puzzle for the Ravens’ offense and Boldin would do wonders for Joe Flacco in the passing game.

Cardinals want a third round pick for Boldin

The asking price for Anquan Boldin has apparently been set, as the NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi reports that the Cardinals are seeking a third-round pick in exchange for the veteran receiver.

If that indeed is the asking price, then the Cardinals should have no shortage of trade partners. The Ravens are desperate for a receiver and I would have to believe that GM Ozzie Newsome would be more than willing to part with a third round pick in order to give Joe Flacco a target such as Boldin.

Outside of the Ravens, the Lions, Patriots, Bucs, Jaguars, Panthers, Dolphins, Chiefs, Jets and Bengals could all be potential trade partners with the Cardinals as well. Many people will throw the Bears into this mix, but considering they don’t have a draft pick in either of the first two rounds, it stands to reason that Jerry Angelo will hang onto his third round selection.

Even if Lombardi’s report is accurate, the Cardinals may not trade Boldin until the draft. It makes more sense for Arizona to wait until teams start to panic about their receiver position before parting with Q.

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