Here is what national analysts are saying about the Ravens trading Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers.
--- Pete Prisco of CBS Sports says that trading Boldin makes sense because he no longer gets separation.
“He was old and slow and made too much dough and had to go. … I think Boldin is the best receiver in NFL history at catching passes when he is not open,” Prisco wrote. “His inability to separate because of a lack of speed has forced him to evolve into a receiver who uses his hands and his body to make catches. He does both of those things well. The problem is this is a league about separation. And when a slow receiver gets slower -- it happens with each year of abuse a player puts on his body -- it becomes a problem.”
--- ESPN’s Jamison Hensley thinks the Ravens erred on Monday.
“When the Ravens released veterans in the past, they usually had a backup plan in place,” Hensley wrote. “Who is going to step up to replace Boldin? He wasn't Calvin Johnson or even Stevie Johnson, but Boldin did lead the Ravens in receiving the past four seasons. He has also scored six touchdowns in eight playoff games with the Ravens. Boldin came up big in big games, showing he was just as tough mentally as he was physically.”
--- Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com says the trade was necessary.
“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,” he wrote. “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 but the 49ers ready to pay him that much?”
--- Chris Burke of SI.com says the move could backfire.
“Boldin is a long way removed from his 102-catch, 1,400-yard 2005 season, but he continues to be a reliable target. That proved especially true in the playoffs,” Burke wrote. “Boldin caught 22 passes and scored four touchdowns in Baltimore’s playoff wins, stepping up as Joe Flacco’s go-to guy. While the Ravens still have a healthy dose of skill at receiver, thanks to Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and others, Boldin will be missed.”
--- Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus says the pressure is now on Torrey Smith to become the team's No. 1 wide receiver.
“They look set to put their faith in third-year wide receiver Torrey Smith as Flacco’s top receiving option. Smith has developed into one of the premier deep threats in the NFL, but is he ready to take over Boldin’s mantle as the team’s top target?” he wrote. “He saw 128 passes thrown his way in the regular season and playoffs combined, just 16 fewer than Boldin, but reeled in just 60 of them and dropped seven. Of those 128 targets, a whopping 41 came on ‘Go’ routes and (if he is indeed set to become Baltimore’s No. 1) he needs to progress a little further in terms of route running as opposed to just beating players deep with his speed.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times