Ravens fans you have every right to be upset at the news of Super Bowl hero and playoff guru, Anquan Boldin, departing Baltimore only to end up on the team the Ravens narrowly beat in Super Bowl 47. The Ravens will receive a 6th round pick for the 2013 draft and clear $7 million worth of cap space. There are some points to look at here though.
The Joe Flacco contract did not have an impact on the trade. In fact, Flacco signing his contract allowed for the Ravens to stay $12 million under the cap and pursue Free Agents like Dannell Ellerbe, Ed Reed Paul Kruger, and Brian McKinnie. Flacco would have commanded anywhere from $14-$18 million in salary cap space if he was franchised. So, in short, we cannot blame Flacco for this trade, yet thank him for future free agent additions. Next, Ozzie Newsome made a terrible mistake today. Let's be honest here, the 49ers have 14 draft picks in the 2013 draft. In return for our Super Bowl stud wide receiver we received ONE pick, a 6th round to be exact. Yes, we clear cap space and quite frankly Newsome did not have much of a leg to stand on seeing that Boldin was set to be released either way. Newsome received a pick, which is more than if we were to release Boldin tonight, but to trade him to a team with that much draft clout, the Ravens could have battled with the other Harbaugh and their GM to procure a higher pick.
To me this trade says a few things about the direction of the Ravens, yes maybe I am jumping to conclusions this season, however for future seasons, the Ravens are making moves in the direction of rebuilding their team. Ozzie Newsome has a crystal ball, he is like the Billy Beane of football, he foreshadows the end of the road for his team and builds around the future. With Joe Flacco and Ray Rice under contract for at least the next four seasons together and with young receivers Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and TE Dennis Pitta, the Ravens have the offensive pieces to the puzzle. However, I think Ozzie sees something with the defense that he needs to rework.
OK after listening to ESPN, NFL Network, CBS Sports, on and on and on, etc, etc, etc, we heard the sirens that the Baltimore defense was aging and letting up. The defense allowed 27 points on average and with outbound stars like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, it was time to start rebuilding the defense. With two of the front four most likely out via free agency, the team needs to focus up front with the pass rush. Both Paul Kruger and Brian McKinnie will be leaving and Terrell Suggs is showing some wear and tear. As well, with Ellerbe a free agent, the linebacker position is looking scarce for the Ravens. Ellerbe, an undrafted FA in 2009, has stepped up and become a solid linebacker. Newsome needs to focus his money on resigning him and one of the two frontmen (McKinnie the most feasible). Finally, Ed Reed has maybe one or two seasons left in him and it is no guarantee he will be back. The Ravens need to move in a different direction and look at drafting a CB or FS/SS in the draft.
Anquan Boldin wasn't in the Ravens long term plans. They got the Super Bowl ring they have been working to gain since the offense took control in 2008. As much as it pains me to say it...if it wasn't this year it was next. Boldin was leaving either way. Newsome knows his defending champs may not have the pieces to repeat this season or next, however he is rebuilding the defense now vice waiting another year to do what he already planned. The Ravens were not a dominant team in the regular season, starting hot and squeaking into the playoffs, then exploding in the postseason. But with young teams like the Bengals starting to become powerhouses in the conference, the Ravens need to come up with a young upstart defense to match their opponents. With that said, OK Ozzie, we will follow you again, "In Ozzie we Trust".