Ravens Receiver Plans: Out of Marshall Sweepstakes; In on Boldin, Walter

Old AccountSenior Writer IMarch 5, 2010

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos halls in a pass for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 15, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the Broncos 27-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

Since midnight Friday morning, NFL free agency is officially underway. Rumors have been flying across the league on the likes of Julius Peppers, along with the trade market of Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin.

The Baltimore Ravens, who are finally showing they will upgrade the receiving corps for Joe Flacco, have been linked to both of those guys and others.

There is an update on the likely situation. I don't believe it comes as a surprise to people in the Maryland area, but the Ravens are most likely out of the Brandon Marshall sweepstakes, according to SI.com's Peter King.

Instead, they are focused acquiring on Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin via trade and free agent Kevin Walter.

Most of the time, King is a reliable source, so I am going to believe him when I said I told you so.

If you are an NFL fan in general, you may be scratching your head. Why wouldn't the Ravens part with a first-round pick for arguably one of the top three receivers in football?

The philosophy is simple with most people. Ray Lewis will keep Brandon Marshall in line within the team clubhouse and be a mentor to him.

However, it shouldn't come to a surprise that the Ravens are sticking with the philosophy of holding onto their top draft pick.

Why? Because there are other needs that can certainly be helped with this selection— defensive end and corner back to be exact.

You also have to keep in mind the Baltimore area. Despite how beautiful the Inner Harbor shines the city, there is also a lot of crime.

Marshall is another incident away from a possible one-season suspension, which isn't worth the headache to Ozzie Newsome.

So with the Marshall sweepstakes most likely over in Baltimore, let's take a look at the two likely targets in Boldin and Walter.

The Cardinals are determined to deal Boldin with one year left on his contract and have lowered their price greatly from last season. Boldin has not had any off-the-field issues thus far, which is already a positive.

Rumors have it that the price is likely a second- or third-round pick for Boldin. If that is the case, the Ravens should make the deal right now.

Boldin brings the vertical presence Flacco needs and would be a great complement to Derrick Mason, who, as of now, is likely to stay in Baltimore.

The Ravens are one of the few teams who are linked to former Texans receiver Kevin Walter. He seems like a perfect fit for the Ravens because he would join a team that always seems to be underrated.

When you're teaming up with Andre Johnson each week, you won't get the recognition you deserve.

What can Walter bring to the table? A slot threat similar to Wes Welker, which Flacco has also lacked with Mark Clayton.

Reports show a deal may not be done Friday with Walter, but sometime over the weekend.

What does this mean for the Ravens? It seems for the first time I can say the Baltimore Ravens are officially in the hunt for the best receivers available not named Brandon Marshall.

It is quite possible Boldin and Walter can land here, but either one would surely be an upgrade. If both are brought here, will this impact Derrick Mason's future?

Probably. But if Mason likes Baltimore enough that he is determined to stay here, then the dream of having three top receivers would become a reality.

The front office sees the potential of this team and realizes that if they want to get over the hump into elite status, the receiving corps needs to be improved.

The anticipation will be high within the state of Maryland. Baltimore may not land the big fish in Brandon Marshall, but Anquan Boldin and Kevin Walter would do just as well in a purple-and-black uniform.


Matt Miselis is a Baltimore Ravens Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. Follow him on twitter for updates during free agency and draft period: http://twitter.com/MattMiselis. Questions/comments/concerns? Email Matt at miselism29@hotmail.com.