Posted: March 5, 2010, 8:19 PM ; Updated: March 5, 2010, 8:33 PM
By Don Banks & Peter King, SI.com
The Baltimore Ravens have completed a trade for Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin, the seventh-year veteran whose name had been mentioned prominently in trade rumors for the past two years. Baltimore will receive Boldin and Arizona's fifth-round pick this year, while the Ravens will send third and fourth-round selections in the 2010 draft to Arizona.
As part of the deal, Baltimore will award Boldin a new four-year contract worth $28 million, or an average of $7 million per year. That's about $1 million per year less than what Boldin had reportedly been seeking. The trade is contingent upon Boldin passing a physical with Baltimore sometime next week.
The Ravens, Patriots and Chiefs were locked into competition for Boldin Friday afternoon, and talks intensified as the day wore on. New England was originally reported to be the frontrunner for Boldin, given that the Patriots own three second-round picks in April's draft -- and four of the top 53 choices.
According to a league source, Baltimore was close to striking a deal with free-agent Texans receiver Kevin Walter Friday afternoon, but that's when their trade talks with Arizona rekindled. "There were definitely negotiations with Walter going on, but (Baltimore) kept all options open throughout the day,'' the league source said. "The Boldin stuff had kind of cooled for a while there, but then they re-started.''
The Ravens are one of the most receiver-needy teams in the NFL, and last month signed former Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth, who was suspended from the league last year in the aftermath of his DUI/manslaughter conviction in Florida.
Boldin has not been able to play a full season since 2006 due to health issues, which is one reason why Baltimore was strongly considering Walter. The Ravens had targeted the Texans' No. 2 receiver in recent weeks, and had done extensive film study on him.
The Cardinals were not interested in paying Boldin the salary he sought due to the large financial commitment they made in recent years to fellow Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Last season, the Cardinals also got increased production from young receivers Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, making Boldin expendable. When Boldin was out of the lineup with injuries the past two seasons, Arizona actually had a better record and higher receiving production without him.