At first glance, I thought the Arizona Cardinals made a big mistake trading Anquan Boldin. Obviously, we all know about the issues regarding Boldin and his trade demands. But the Cardinals were already going through drastic changes this offseason with the retirement of Kurt Warner. Losing a big playmaker in Boldin will hurt.
With a closer look, however, I have changed my opinion. The Cardinals won some big games without Boldin the past couple of seasons as he has battled injuries. Plus, Arizona has Steve Breaston and Early Doucet ready to step up to that number two receiver in the slot with Larry Fitzgerald outside. But instead of focusing on the Cardinals, I am choosing to focus on the Ravens and what a good move this is for 2010.
Baltimore has been one of the better teams in the AFC the past two seasons. In 2010 the team shocked us all by going up to Foxboro and whipping the favored Patriots 33-14 in the first round of the playoffs. Baltimore hit a brick wall against the Colts in the divisional round, and that is when what we all sort of realized about the Ravens’ offense came starkly into focus – their offense struggles at times, especially in the passing game. The acquisition of Boldin should help, and quarterback Joe Flacco has to be happy with the move. Running back Ray Rice led the team in catches last season. Taking nothing away from Rice, who had a breakout season for the Ravens in 2010, that is not going to take a team to the next level as a team.
Looking at the receivers currently on the depth chart, you would have to list Boldin as the number one receiver. Yes, the Ravens signed Donte Stallworth, but even if we knew how good he would be after a year off, he still would not be the main threat in the passing game. We are not sure what is going to happen with longtime Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason. He still could be re-signed, but the Ravens supposedly are not considering it a priority to do so. Either way, Boldin is now the man in a new city, coming off a season where he had 84 catches for 1,024 yards.
Boldin, who is a three-time Pro Bowler, also comes out smelling like a rose. He succeeds in his demand to be traded and even gets traded to a Super Bowl contender. He also gets a new contract out of the deal, signing a four year, $28M contract with $10M guaranteed. He is a physical receiver who should fit in well with the physical style of play the Ravens use. His ability to block will be a huge asset to the team, as that is a part of his game that is overlooked in a pass-happy offense like Arizona’s.
The rest of the AFC better look out. The Ravens just got even better!