The NFL is a business and there is no other time that reminds us of that more than just before the start of free agency. Teams begin to position themselves to take advantage of the fresh pool of proven NFL talent and we are repeatedly reminded that loyalty only goes so far. This is evidenced once more by the Baltimore Ravens latest move which sends Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers.
Boldin came up huge for the Ravens in the playoffs last season and was a large contributor to their Super Bowl run. With his contract entering its final year, Boldin was looking to get an extension and a bit of a pay raise, but the Baltimore front office had other plans, wanting him to take a $2 million pay cut instead. Neither side was able to come to an agreement, and general Manager Ozzie Newsome did what he could to secure a 6th round pick from the 49ers.
The fact that Boldin will not be back with the Ravens is not much of a surprise. The rumors have been floating around for a couple of months now, but after the performance Boldin put on during their Super Bowl run, it would have been nice to see a team show loyalty to a guy that played such a large role in bringing the title to Baltimore.
Instead, they send Boldin across the country to a team where he will likely be used as the third option in the passing game, behind Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. This would not be the worst situation for Boldin, who will be 33 this season. He can still contribute and will benefit from teams focusing coverage on the other offensive weapons.
The 49ers have what it takes to get back to the Super Bowl in 2013 and it gives Boldin a chance at another title, but it would have been nice to see a team think about the player instead of the bottom line. It is a fanciful thought, but one worth holding on to. Besides, when you look at which team is more likely to win the Super Bowl next, maybe they were thinking about Boldin’s future after all.