If you watched the NFC Championship game on Sunday, you most likely saw Arizona Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin arguing vehemently with offensive coordinator Todd Haley on the sidelines during the second half of the Cardinals' win.
Boldin had been used only sparingly during the game, and was taken out in the second half.
He was clearly unhappy about it.
Boldin said that during the game he was not given an explanation as to why he was removed, and later went on to say:
"They said I was not in position to run like they wanted me to. I felt fine the entire game."
This isn't the first dispute that Boldin has had with his current team. Prior to the 2008 season, Boldin felt that he deserved a new contract, but the Cardinals disagreed.
Boldin then asked to be traded, saying: “If I’m not going to be treated fairly, if my hard work and loyalty isn’t going to be rewarded here, then let me go somewhere where it’s going to be rewarded. That’s how I feel.”
Obviously, Boldin was not traded, as the Cardinals didn't want to give up a player of that caliber. Boldin currently makes an average of $4 million per year, and has two years left on a $22.75-million contract he signed after the 2005 season.
Boldin is clearly committed to helping his team win the Super Bowl, and does not want to be a distraction during the preparation for the big game. I respect that completely. But on February 2, the Chicago Bears should make the Cardinals an offer for the disgruntled WR.
If the going rate for a WR is based off the Roy Williams trade, the Bears would need to give up at least their first, third, and sixth-round picks in 2009, along with a seventh-round pick in 2010 to acquire Boldin. Based on his performance compared to Williams, the price would likely to be higher. On top of that, Boldin would still more than likely want a new contract before playing for his new team.
Despite the high price, I believe it needs to be paid—and is worth it to get a playmaker of Boldin's quality. Although he has a history of injury problems, his stats are undeniable. In six years in the league he has averaged 84 receptions, 1083 yards and seven TDs, all while playing an average of only 13 games per year.
The Bears wide-receiving corps is just shy of embarrassing. Devin Hester, Brandon Lloyd, Rashied Davis, Marty Booker, and Earl Bennett are apparently the best the Bears could come up with for 2008.
This group was miserable this year, and could not hold onto the ball. Rashied Davis was sixth in the NFC with seven drops this season. There is no clear No. 1 receiver on this team, and bringing in Boldin would allow the other receivers to complement him and possibly take the pressure off of themselves.
Not only Boldin does have the height, hands, and route-running ability that make him a No. 1, he has experience. Trying to draft a playmaking receiver in the first round (Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin) is a gamble, and bringing in a proven WR like Boldin would help out QB Kyle Orton.
I should also mention that Boldin is one of the toughest football players and human beings I have ever seen. Just three weeks after being knocked out by Jets S Eric Smith and having surgery to fix a broken bone in his face, Boldin was back on the field making nine catches in a loss to Carolina.
Wide receiver is not the only need the Bears have to address this offseason, but it is their most pressing. The free agent crop of WRs is very thin, and there are not going to be many other opportunities like this to trade for a three-time Pro Bowler.
The Bears have a history of tight pockets and unwillingness to give away draft picks, but based on their recent track record of drafting offensive players (another story for another time), they need to try and make this trade.