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Anquan Boldin trade a necessary evil for Ravens

Football is a great game, but it's a cold-blooded business. The Baltimore Ravens were right to agree to deal Super Bowl hero Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers because sentiment should not dictate personnel decisions.

I've already heard the move was a "steal" for the 49ers, but let's be real. The Ravens were ready to release Boldin, and they still got something back for him. He was due $6 million in 2013. They set a price on Boldin, and they stuck to it. Was any team except the 49ers ready to pay him that much?

Super Bowl champions get off track when they get overly emotional. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome insisted he wouldn't make the mistake of trying to keep the band all together, like the Ravens did after their first world championship. 

Boldin's epic playoff run will go down in Ravens' history. But he's a player set to turn 33 years old and unlikely ever to play at that insanely high level again. His speed has deteriorated rapidly. More to the point: The Ravens have salary cap issues, and Boldin's allotted money can now be spent on younger players like linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Or more valuable players like safety Ed Reed.

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That doesn't mean it's a bad deal for the 49ers. It's a low-risk, one-year gambit. It's a better deal for the Ravens because of what it signifies. The Ravens knew Boldin wasn't part of the team's long-term future and didn't let all that post-Super Bowl bubbly intoxicate them.

Newsome knows that popular decisions usually aren't the right ones.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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