Anquan Boldin Trade Proves San Francisco 49ers Aren't Messing Around
Just mere hours after the Seattle Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings in a trade that sent multiple draft pick to The Twin Cities, San Francisco countered by acquiring a starting receiver of its own.
The primary differences here are that San Francisco did not yield a first-round pick, nor did it give up a mid-round pick in next year's draft. Instead, it gave up just a sixth-round pick next month to acquire Super Bowl nemesis Anquan Boldin.
On the surface, some may ask exactly what the Baltimore Ravens were thinking here? After all, they traded their best receiving option; a receiver that is one of the primary reasons they brought home the Lombardi last month.
That's on the surface.
A rift grew between Boldin and Baltimore following its surprising run to the championship. General manager Ozzie Newsome wanted his playmaker to take a pay cut, at which point Boldin flat out refused. We can debate until we are blue in the face whether Baltimore demanding Boldin take a pay cut was the right move, but that really isn't the point here.
San Francisco acquired one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL over the last five seasons in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Yes, a sixth-round pick in a draft where it had 15 selections overall.
What Boldin Brings to the 49ers
It goes without saying that the former Pro Bowl wide receiver will be San Francisco's starter opposite Michael Crabtree in 2013. He has the physicality and strength to be a dominating No. 2 receiving option for Colin Kaepernick.
In addition, Boldin possesses one of the best sets of hands of any receiver in the NFL, right up there with his new running mate. If you were able to catch any of the Ravens' playoff games (outside of the Super Bowl), you would have noticed that Joe Flacco relied heavily on the veteran receiver. Though it was to a much lesser degree, Baltimore's signal-caller threw the ball up there for grabs much like we have seen with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions.
As you can notice in the video embedded above, Boldin is a man among boys out there on the football field. He has a physical presence that few others possess at the wide receiver position and utilizes that frame to fend off defenders at the point of contact.
Just imagine how productive he will be with the strong-armed Kaepernick throwing him the ball. It really doesn't leave a whole lot for the imagination. Instead, it will pretty much scare opposing defensive coordinators into nightmares Saturday nights before they have to take on San Francisco.
We already know the dimension that Crabtree brings to the table. He jumped onto the national stage during San Francisco's run to the Super Bowl this past season, but the young wide receiver has been as consistent as they come since the midway point of the 2011 season.
The idea of Boldin and Crabtree pairing up with one another on the outside is simply ridiculous.
This doesn't even take into account Vernon Davis between the hashes and the "healthy" return of Mario Manningham from a serious knee injury.
While San Francisco did lose a lot in terms of blocking when Delanie Walker signed with the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday, Boldin is no slouch. Simply put, he is the best blocking wide receiver in the entire league, even at an advanced age.
Lot of box score scouts talking about Anquan Boldin. How about his blocking? His ability to set up intermediate routes? Leadership?— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 11, 2013
Considering that Matt Miller has spent countless hours scouting every single player in the NFL in preparation for the amazing NFL 1,000 Series, I will go ahead and take his word for it. I did, however, notice Boldin doing a bang-up job against a physical 49ers defense when he was asked to block in the Super Bowl last month.
One of the most underrated aspects of Crabtree's suddenly well-rounded game is his ability to block down the field and in the running game. Again, these two are going to be physical beasts against defenses in 2013.
As it relates to Boldin's production on the football field, don't expect a 1,000-yard season. First, he isn't at the point of his career where he is going to put up those types of numbers. Second, San Francisco has more receiving options than what Boldin saw with Baltimore over the last few seasons. Finally, the 49ers offense is still of the run-first variety.
That being said, Boldin will be a jack-of-all-trades out there. You can expect him to line up on the outside and in the slot. You can expect him to throw down against some of the most physical cornerbacks the NFC has to offer (I am looking at you Richard Sherman). You can also expect him to play a leadership role in the locker room.
Oh, and he brings a Super Bowl ring with him. While some of you still have a bitter taste because that ring came against the 49ers, it is still a valuable thing for Boldin to bring with him to San Francisco.
Let's go back to the value San Francisco acquired here for a second.
RT @ravensinsider: Anquan Boldin traded to 49ers for a sixth-round pick....WHAT!!!— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) March 11, 2013
Tell us how you really feel, Mr. Smith. Acquiring someone of Boldin's caliber for a sixth-round pick is highway robbery at its absolute finest. It is yet another example of general manager Trent Baalke passing the test; a test that has been aced by the front office executive countless times in his short tenure with the 49ers.
While Percy Harvin's tenure in the Pacific Northwest should far surpass Boldin's tenure in San Francisco, it makes Seattle's yielding of three draft picks and $67 million for the enigmatic receiver seem a bit ridiculous.
This is the type of move that a team like the New England Patriots make on a consistent basis. Trade away a late-round pick for an aging veteran that still has a lot to contribute on the football field.
It is also the type of move that makes a franchise perennial Super Bowl contender.
Vincent Frank is a NFL featured columnist here at Bleacher Report. He was hired on prior to the 2011 season and couldn't be happier working with a great group of individuals here. In addition, Vincent is the head sports editor over at eDraft and co-host of eDraft Sports Radio, which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3-6 PM ET. Go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter @VincentFrankNFL.
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