Why Baltimore Ravens Must Not Cut Anquan Boldin

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IFebruary 8, 2013

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) celebrates a play against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

He will be 33 during the 2013 season, his 11th in the NFL, but the Baltimore Ravens must not cut Anquan Boldin

The veteran wideout was the true unsung hero of the Ravens' rather dominant journey through the playoffs, making spectacular catches in traffic when Joe Flacco needed them most. 
But, Baltimore finds itself in a financial bind entering the 2013 offseason, with many of its best players representing huge cap numbers next season. 

This list, created by NFL.com's Albert Breer, lays out the highest cap figures for the Ravens:

OLB Terrell Suggs -- $13,020,000

DT Haloti Ngata -- $11,500,000

WR Anquan Boldin -- $7,531,250

OG Marshal Yanda -- $7,450,000

RB Ray Rice -- $5,750,000

CB Lardarius Webb -- $5,385,000

OT Michael Oher -- $4,955,000

WR Jacoby Jones -- $4,900,000

FB Vonta Leach -- $4,333,334

LB Jameel McClain -- $4,200,000

TOTAL -- $69,024,584

He points out that some teams are actually worse off, stating "the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, for example, have 10 players currently accounting for a staggering $100.33 million of their 2013 cap room.

"However, Baltimore's situation is quite dire, and with Boldin in the twilight of his career, there's a distinct possibility he'll ultimately be a cap casualty. 

But he's one veteran valuable enough for the Ravens to keep. For the last three years, Boldin has made the same $7,531,000 figure, and actually, all of his receiving statistics improved in 2012 compared to 2011. 

He probably isn't as fast and doesn't possesses as much burst as he used to, yet, his ball skills have certainly not diminished and he appears to have kept his body in great shape throughout his career.Also, his importance to Joe Flacco goes beyond the purely quantifiable.

Boldin doesn't have to necessarily get open to make plays down the field, and he demonstrated during the postseason that he still can out-muscle and out-jump cornerbacks even ten years his junior. 

Flacco made drastic strides as a quarterback during his four-game, Super Bowl MVP-winning playoff campaign, but Boldin was imperative in every outing. 

If the Ravens are willing to give Flacco a monster deal, whether it be by way of the exclusive franchise tag or a long-term extension, they must be cognizant of the fact that their quarterback needs play-making talent at the wide receiver position to continue his development into unquestioned elite status. 

Boldin isn't cheap, and he isn't young, but he's priceless to Flacco and the entire Baltimore Ravens team.