Friday, April 17, 2009

Ravens should steer clear of Boldin trade winds

Could Anquan Boldin help the Ravens? Absolutely!

Should the Ravens make a serious play for Boldin’s services? Absolutely not!

In order to dress Boldin in purple it will cost the Ravens a first round pick and a third round pick. Then once the swap is complete Boldin’s agent Drew Rosenhaus will hold the Ravens for ransom until a new deal is worked out assuming he hasn’t taken them to the cleaners prior to such a trade.

What might Rosenhaus demand for his client?

More than likely he’ll look at the money given to Larry Fitzgerald to start the conversation. Clearly Boldin is no Fitzgerald and the sides would probably settle on a deal somewhere between Fitzgerald (4 years, $40 million, $30 million guaranteed) and Bills’ receiver Lee Evans (4 years, $37.25 million, $18.25 million guaranteed).

Boldin will be 28 in October. Over the course of his six NFL seasons he has played in all 16 games only twice averaging 13 games played per season. During his last four campaigns Boldin has hauled in 345 passes for 4,496 yards and 31 scores.

Comparatively speaking over that same span, Derrick Mason has racked up 337 catches for 3,947 yards and 15 touchdowns – a difference of 2 catches, 137 yards and 4 TD’s per season.

And Mason hasn’t had the luxury of playing opposite Larry Fitzgerald in a wide open offense.

Those who argue that Boldin can still be productive without Fitzgerald drawing away coverage will point to Boldin’s rookie season in ’03 prior to Fitzgerald’s arrival. Then Boldin had 101 catches for 1,377 yards and 8 TD’s. Clearly an outstanding season but one needs to keep in mind that the Cardinals were 4-12 that season and dead last in points allowed in the league surrendering 28.2 points per game. It’s safe to say the Cardinals played catch up often scoring 227 points less than their opponents that season. It’s safe to assume that Boldin’s statistics were inflated while facing soft prevent defenses.

Take away Boldin’s familiarity with the Cardinals’ offense.

Take away Pro Bowl QB Kurt Warner.

Take away Fitzgerald and slot receiver Steve Breaston.

Could he still put up Boldin-like numbers?

Maybe, maybe not.

But even if he does, is he worth the cost of a first and a third round picks plus $25million in guarantees? If he’s averaging just 13 games per season as a No. 2 receiver what happens when he gets the attention of a No. 1 receiver?

The consensus among Ravens’ fans is that the team can’t get it right when it comes to drafting a wide receiver or developing one, preferring instead to acquire an established player and plug him into the roster.

But why can’t the organization get better at finding the right receiver? Apparently they’ve improved at finding a quarterback. Today the scouting department and the coaching staff works closely together when evaluating talent and finding the right fit. When Brian Billick was the head coach, he was a bit condescending towards the scouts and that created a slight divide between scouts and coaches.

The vibe is now more harmonious and that improves their chances of a hit on a wide receiver. Who’s to say that Hakeem Nicks or Kenny Britt can’t be the next Anquan Boldin? And if either is as productive as Boldin the costs are much more favorable as is the player’s longevity. In 2008 the 26th pick in the draft cost $11.4 million over 5 years with $6.5 million guaranteed. That’s a far cry from what Rosenhaus will demand for Boldin.

Plus the team gets to keep a third round pick.

And let’s not forget that Terrell Suggs will eventually need his long-term deal and Haloti Ngata will need an extension as well. Oh and there’s this guy named Flacco. If he becomes the quarterback we all think he could be, Flacco is going to cost a pretty penny down the road as well.

In the long run there are better ways for the Ravens to improve their passing game starting with a pass on Anquan Boldin.


Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. Please Oz, don't pull another McGahee. You're better than that...

Anonymous said...

also agree 100%

Anonymous said...

OMG Tony, you're such a DeCosta flak that you're blaming his inability (and Savage's inability as well) to draft a decent wide receiver as Billick's fault??? Come on! For once, just criticize the scouting department in the one area it's clearly deserved.