There are trades and then there are trades and then there are trades that are really something.
When the Baltimore Ravens gave up wide receiver Anquan Boldin for a sixth-round draft pick, that was a trade that ranked in the “really something” category.
The notion that Boldin would leave the Ravens was shocking in itself. There is no stronger or more physical presence at the position in the league. The guy plays, he leads and he contributes. His playoff performances as the Ravens won the Super Bowl were outstanding. In four games, he had 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns. He also came down with a huge third-down catch in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl that set up a field goal that made Baltimore’s lead five points.
Boldin isn’t the fastest, the biggest or the most polished of receivers.
But he can block, he’s as strong as anyone and most important he shows up on Sunday.
Add him to a 49ers team that already includes Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis and Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick and … well … that’s Super Bowl caliber again.
Even if Boldin doesn’t work out, all San Francisco gave up was a sixth-round pick. Which is well worth the risk.
Meanwhile, the fallout in the AFC North is not insignificant.
The Browns won’t have to watch Boldin beat them up twice a year, nor will the Bengals. Boldin had 32 catches for 488 yards and three TDs against the Browns, and 22 for 264 yards and four TDs against the Bengals.
That mismatch has moved on.
The other fallout could affect the Browns free agent plans. Rumors and logic have the Browns interested in Ravens linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe.
Trading Boldin clears $6 million in cap space for the Ravens. Whether that’s enough to keep Ellerbe or Kruger remains to be seen, but it’s a step.
Finally, Baltimore is not as good without Boldin as it was with him. But it’s hard to think that Ozzie Newsome doesn’t have a plan ready and waiting to replace him. The Ravens are consistent winners for a reason.