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Anquan Boldin to be traded to San Francisco 49ers

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.

The Baltimore Sun first reported the trade. Per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the trade will not be official until Boldin -- currently on an African mission -- passes a physical.

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.

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Anquan Boldin through the years

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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:

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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