Seeking salary-cap relief, the Baltimore Ravens desperately wanted Anquan Boldin to accept a $2 million reduction in pay for the 2013 season. A man of principle, Boldin stuck to his guns about playing under the contract he originally signed.
With both sides at a standstill, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome came up with a solution that could strengthen a fierce competitor while leaving his team worse off in the long run. NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Monday, citing a Ravens source, that Boldin will be traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2013 sixth-round draft pick. A 49ers source told Breer that the deal is done.
Breer also reported that there will be no alteration to Boldin's salary in 2013 -- he still is set to make $6 million this season. A 49ers source told Breer that the sides might consider something later.
The 49ers weren't the only team interested in Boldin, Rapoport reported Monday. According to a Ravens source, Baltimore also discussed a Boldin trade with the Minnesota Vikings. But the Vikings didn't offer as much as the Niners, according to Rapoport.
Anquan Boldin through the yearsTake a look at the best photos of Anquan Boldin.
Three years ago, Newsome netted Boldin and a fifth-round pick from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a third- and fourth-round pick. Playoff hero or no, Newsome did well to collect a draft pick for a player about to enter the declining phase of his career. Boldin wasn't going to see his $6 million salary, in which case the Ravens would have simply released him on Tuesday.
From the Niners' point of view, Boldin fills a major need for a reliable receiver opposite Michael Crabtree while casting doubt on Mario Manningham's future in San Francisco. It also suggests the 49ers envision another red-shirt year for 2012 first-rounder A.J. Jenkins, who barely saw the field as a rookie.
The trade from one Harbaugh brother to another speaks volumes about the respect Boldin carried in Baltimore. Now he returns to his familiar stomping grounds in the NFC West.
UPDATE: Boldin thanked his fans Tuesday on Twitter:
I would like thank the Ravens fans for their incredible support for myself and my family throughout my years in Baltimore.â Anquan Boldin (@AnquanBoldin) March 12, 2013
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
I thought this was the last stop of my career but regardless of the circumstances I came here to win a Championshipâ Anquan Boldin (@AnquanBoldin) March 12, 2013