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Anquan Boldin vs Victor Cruz: which free agent wide receiver should the Ravens sign

The Ravens could look to the free agent market to add a wide receiver. Who is the best fit for the team?

2013 - Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After passing on a wide receiver in the draft, questions regarding how the passing game will produce have swirled around the Ravens. One of the options to find a wide receiver is looking to the free agent market. There, two clear top options remain, Victor Cruz and Anquan Boldin. Of the two, which would be the better sign for the Ravens?

The answer is Boldin, and honestly, it really shouldn’t be that much of a debate.

The Ravens current receiving core is loaded with speed, highlighted by the two current projected starters: Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman. The Ravens desperately need a receiver to complement the deep threat ability of Wallace and Perriman. That would mean someone with reliable hands that can be a security blanket and a chain mover for Joe Flacco.

Scroll up to the top of the page and look at the picture. It shows Anquan Boldin hauling the infamous third-and-inches reception late in Super Bowl XLVII. It’s plays like that one which show exactly why Boldin is what the Ravens need. Beyond the fact that Boldin is a former Raven, he is exactly the chain mover with reliable hands that the Ravens lack.

In addition, Boldin will be going into his 15th NFL season this year, but he is still producing. In 2016, despite playing behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones in the Lions offense, Boldin still had 584 receiving yards, 41 receptions for a first down, and eight touchdown catches, good for ninth in the NFL. In the Lions game against the Redskins last season, Boldin proved that he still is the reliable, and clutch receiver that he has been throughout his career.

On a third down, down by four points with less than 30 seconds to go, Anquan Boldin scores the game winning touchdown. Did you expect anything less?

If you watch Matthew Stafford on the above play, his eyes start on Boldin, and never leave Boldin. Stafford knows that Boldin is someone that he can rely on when he needs a big play. Unsurprisingly, Boldin got the job done.

This is nothing new for Boldin. Just re-watch all of his crucial plays from the Ravens run to the Super Bowl:

On the other hand, Cruz has steadily declined after his two 1,000 yard seasons. Cruz is no longer the star receiver he once was, and his hands are nowhere near as good as Boldin’s. Cruz is not as physical as Boldin either. Plus, Cruz is not that far removed from an injury that kept him out for the entire 2015 season.

Anquan Boldin has chemistry with Joe Flacco from his three years in Baltimore, which should lead to a more sudden impact if the Ravens were to add Boldin. Boldin provides exactly what the Ravens need to help the offense be competitive in 2017. The Ravens have shown a commitment to the defense this offseason. On paper, that is a unit that looks to be one of the, if not the best in the NFL. But no matter how good the defense is, the offense has to be able to put up points. Adding someone like Boldin who can make key plays at key times will be huge for the Ravens. This offseason, the Ravens proved that they wanted to win now. By adding Anquan Boldin, the team truly can do just that.