Ravens trade Anquan Boldin to 49ers
Here's a Super Bowl twist: A guy who helped Baltimore beat San Francisco for the NFL title is now poised to join the 49ers.
San Francisco acquired wide receiver Anquan Boldin from the Ravens for a sixth-round draft pick Monday. Boldin, a star in Baltimore's run to the world championship last season, must pass a physical to complete the deal.
The Ravens announced the trade Monday, prompting a disappointed response from quarterback Joe Flacco.
"Anquan was a great receiver for myself and for our football team," said Flacco, who signed a six-year, $120.6 million deal with the Ravens last week. "It's sad to see a guy like that go, but at the same time you want what's best for him and you just wish him the best of luck.
"Anquan was a big part of this football team, a big part of this offence. He's one of the many reasons we won the Super Bowl this year."
Boldin had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens' 34-31 Super Bowl victory over the 49ers. Boldin also had five receptions for 60 yards and two scores against New England in the AFC title game.
Boldin in final season of contract
But he was due $6 million in 2013, the final year of his contract. After Boldin and the Ravens failed to agree on a restructured deal, Baltimore worked a deal with San Francisco rather than to simply cut him from the roster.
Boldin and former Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald were in West Africa on Monday, continuing their efforts with international relief. Boldin was expected to remain in Africa through Thursday and was not immediately available for comment.
But some of his former teammates had plenty to say.
"It's a business, man. Those things are going to happen," wide receiver Jacoby Jones said. "I wish Q the best. He's always a Raven with me, and we got something they can't take from us."
News of the deal came shortly before several members of the Ravens, including Flacco and Jones, gathered to watch a screening of a DVD documenting Baltimore's magical 2012 season.
Boldin and guard Bobbie Williams, whose contract was terminated last week, were featured prominently in the movie. Free agents Paul Kruger, Ed Reed and Dannell Ellerbe may also be gone by the time Baltimore begins training camp starts in July.
Before entering the theatre, Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones said of losing Boldin: "That's really unfortunate, but that's part of the business. Right now we're here to celebrate the time that we did have with him."
The 32-year-old Boldin had said he'd consider retirement rather than leave Baltimore. But going to the NFC champions might change his mind.
A 10-year veteran, Boldin led Baltimore with 65 catches for 921 yards and four TDs in 2012. He was sensational in the post-season, totalling 16 receptions for 276 yards and three scores.
Boldin was also a strong voice in the locker room and a teacher to second-year wide receiver Torrey Smith, who will likely become Flacco's top target in 2013.
"Definitely shocked," Smith said of the deal. "You lose a great guy, a great leader. A mentor. All of that."
Smith was more concerned about being in the huddle without Boldin than taking over as the Ravens' top pass-catching threat.
"It's not so much about football when you lose someone like that, someone you love like a brother and would do anything for you," Smith said.
Boldin spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with Arizona, which lost the 2009 Super Bowl to Pittsburgh. In that game, Boldin caught eight passes for 84 yards.
He came to Baltimore in a trade before the 2010 season. The team reached the playoffs during all three of his seasons with the Ravens.
"A veteran like that, you lose a lot," Jones said. "You learn a lot of routes from him, moves, what he sees. He passed that on to us."
The Ravens knew changes were coming, so the deal didn't come as a total shock.
"Not necessarily surprised," Flacco said. "You see things like this happen every year in the NFL. It's just the nature of the business. ... Now we've got to put some faith in our young guys and hope they step up to the table and play the way they're capable of playing."