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Grading the 49ers-Ravens Anquan Boldin Trade

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMarch 11, 2013

Grading the 49ers-Ravens Anquan Boldin Trade

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    It's been a crazy day in the NFC West.

    Only hours after the Seattle Seahawks dealt a package of draft picks to the Minnesota Vikings to acquire Percy Harvin, the San Francisco 49ers made a move of their own.

    NFL.com's Jason La Canfora, the 49ers have traded a sixth-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft to the Baltimore Ravens for veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

    The move came shortly after it was rumored that the Ravens were shopping the 32-year-old Boldin, who is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $6 million this season.

    The trade shakes up both of last season's Super Bowl participants, but how did each team do in the deal?

    Let's take a look.

San Francisco 49ers: A Re-Tooled Wide Receiver Corps

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    You have to think that San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is jumping up and down about the acquisition of Anquan Boldin, especially after watching Boldin make tough catch after tough catch in Super Bowl XLVII.

    Granted, Boldin may not be the player he once was, and there's a measure of risk involved with acquiring a player entering the final year of his deal.

    However, in Boldin the 49ers just picked up a tough-as-nails possession receiver who showed quite clearly in last year's playoffs that he still has something left in the tank.

    Combined with wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who blossomed last year once Kaepernick took over under center, and tight end Vernon Davis, Kaepernick now has a very impressive arsenal at his disposal in the passing game.

    Grade: A

Baltimore Ravens: Questions Abound in the Passing Game

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    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco may well be jumping up and down too, but the words emanating from Flacco's mouth aren't the kind I can print here.

    Only a day before this trade went down, Flacco went public in support of Boldin's refusal to take a pay cut according to Robert Klemko of USA Today.

    Without him, we don't win the Super Bowl. He's a huge part of this team and someone I want to see back.

    Obviously, when you're a player of his caliber, you believe you're worth a number and that's what you should get. He's going to stick to his guns, and that's the way it should be.

    Now Boldin's out the door and the Ravens' receiving corps is surrounded by questions.

    Baltimore just traded away a player that averaged 95 yards per game in the playoffs and has led the team in receiving yards in each of his three seasons with the Ravens.

    Yes, the deal affords the Ravens some salary cap relief, but at least some of that relief will need to be applied towards finding a replacement for Boldin, which may be easier said than done.

    Then there's the matter of how the trade will be received by players such as Flacco and fellow wideout Torrey Smith, who tweeted after learning of the trade that "This business is BS at times," according to ESPN.

    Grade: D

San Francisco 49ers: Pennies on the Dollar

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    Partly as a result of the deal that sent quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers are positively swimming in draft picks this year.

    Before the trade with the Ravens, the 49ers had a staggering 15 picks in the 2013 NFL draft, including five of the first 93 selections.

    However, the 49ers didn't even have to give up one of those high picks.

    When you have as many picks as the 49ers do, giving up a sixth-rounder for a player of Boldin's caliber is basically a no-risk move, even if he only plays one year with the team.

    Hard not to like that.

    Grade: A

Baltimore Ravens: Selling in a Buyer's Market

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    Since Ozzie Newsome took over as the general manager of the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, he's developed a reputation as one of the best men in the National Football League at his job.

    With that said, Newsome badly misplayed the Boldin situation.

    Rumors have swirled for weeks that the cap-strapped Ravens were prepared to cut Boldin if he wouldn't accept a pay cut.

    Once Boldin made it known that he had no intention of doing so, the Ravens were effectively stuck.

    Other NFL teams were well-aware that if push came to shove, Baltimore would release Boldin, and that only served to drive the price for Boldin down.

    If Baltimore was going to trade Anquan Boldin, that should've been plan A.

    Maybe if it was they'd have gotten more than a sixth-round pick in return.

    Grade: D

San Francisco 49ers: Final Grade

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    In case you haven't noticed, in my opinion, this trade is about as one-sided as trades get.

    The San Francisco 49ers were not only able to improve their wide receivers by adding a savvy veteran wideout, but they did so at a cost that's next to negligible.

    Colin Kaepernick gets another weapon in the passing game, the 49ers answered the Seahawks acquisition of Percy Harvin in a rapidly developing NFC West arms race, and it all it cost them was a draft pick they had no need for to begin with.

    The rich get richer.

    Grade: A

Baltimore Ravens: Final Grade

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    As hard as it probably is to find anyone in San Francisco that doesn't like this trade, it's likely just as difficult to find someone in Baltimore that does.

    Listen, I understand that the Baltimore Ravens have salary cap issues and that sometimes in today's NFL tough business decisions need to be made.

    However, the Ravens just traded their most dependable receiver in a move that's going to go over like a lead feather in the locker room for the equivalent of a box of Pop-Tarts.

    Ozzie Newsome blew this one, plain and simple.

    Grade: D

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