Created on: March 14, 2013
As free agency in the National Football League commenced this week, it pointed out just how much loyalty has disappeared from the game. There was a time when someone went to a team and was there for their entire career. Ah, but when free agency and the salary cap came to be, all of that changed. Teams have to focus on the bottom line, and can no longer be concerned with a player's attachment to the community. One need look no further than Anquan Boldin's trade to San Francisco as an example.
The Baltimore Ravens do not get to the Super Bowl without the hands of Anquan Boldin. The Baltimore Ravens do not win the Super Bowl without his spectacular hands and his ability to occupy defenders, leaving Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith open to catch touchdowns. He had a contract in place, and professed his love for Baltimore, and wanted it to be the place that his career ended. Baltimore listened, and then promptly shipped him off to San Francisco for a 6th round pick.
In a nutshell, they traded their best receiver for next to nothing, trading him to a team that they could very well meet again in a Super Bowl. It left not only fans stunned, but Boldin himself. How is this for a shocking way to find out about being jettisoned from the team he thought he would end his career with. Boldin was stepping off a plane in Africa, on an NFL sponsored trip to the country of Senegal on a good will tour. Boldin gets off and gets reception, only to find text messages of congrats for being a San Francisco 49er.
One can understand Boldin being stunned. Some weeks before this trade, Boldin had indicated that Baltimore would be his last stop. He indicated at that point that if he was not in Charm City, he would be submitting his retirement papers. That appears to not be happening, as time to think about it has left Boldin thinking this might be worth a shot. Boldin commented on ESPN, "Uh, yeah. You know, for me it was an initial shock because I had no clue that I was going to be traded. So for me, it was shocking at first, but I mean it, for me it is also a good thing. You know, when I look at the organization and what they’re about, and as a football team, the talent that they have, I think it's a good, good place for me to be."
One might ask what led the Ravens and Boldin down this path. Well, much like many things in the league these days, the decision was money driven. Boldin's contract calls for $6 million in 2013 for the wideout, which the Ravens were hoping he would take a pay cut. Boldin wanted no part of a restructure, figuring he gave his all for the team, and deserved the full amount of his contract. Baltimore had planned to release the veteran if a trade could not be worked out, so this worked out for both parties. Boldin goes to a Super Bowl contender while Baltimore recoups $5.5 million in cap savings.
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