First off, let me say that I am not big on the phrase “replace (insert player name)”, I prefer the term “replace (insert player) production” or “replicate (player name) production”. The Ravens arent going to replace Anquan Boldin any more than they are going to replace Ray Lewis. They are just hoping to control the amount of damage and replicate the production that player broaught to the field. You can’t replace what a player brings off the field though. Even so, the Ravens will have many options to replicate his production on the field. Ozzie Newsome doesnt just run around willy nilly making cuts and signings without a plan in place to make sure there isnt a drop in talent level. The Ravens make cuts every year that cause fans to freak out, but they always field a playoff team and they always are among the top 5-7 teams in the league. Here are the options.
Tandon Doss gets expanded role.
I still expect the Ravens to extend Jacoby Jones in the near future. In this scenario Jones steps up to a full time role as a no.2 WR and Doss and Pitta become the underneath players. Doss has been referred to as a “Boldin Clone” by people within the Ravens organization and could be in line for a larger role. I am not huge on Doss because he always seems out of place on the field, but as a full time player he probably would be more comfortable and stay in better rhythm all the time.
Ravens Sign Danny Amendola
Amendola is a sleeper free agent right now. Amendola runs excellent routes, has great hands is essentially Wes Welker from 8 years ago. To the right team, Amendola could be a future pro-bowler. He is an excelent slot WR and is reportedly only looking for about 6 million per year. For those of you keeping track at home, that is less than Boldin would have cost this year and Amendola is an upgrade on the field. Amendola doesnt have the name like Boldin does, but he is a very good player.
Ravens Sign Greg Jennings
A slightly less appealing option would be to sign Greg Jennings. Jennings has a big name, but he is older than Amendola and he has had some trouble staying healthy lately(if you look Amendola up, he looks injury prone, but he had an ACL tear which he recovered from completely and a freak Clavicle injury that cost him a few weeks, nothing to be concerned with). Jennings would be a solid add, but he would likely be more expensive than Amendola and the Ravens would have to do some creative contract configuring. Probably a heavily backloaded deal that pays him more than he is worth. My thinking is why would you trade a WR because he was overpaid and then sign a WR to an over-inflated deal, not much sense there. Dont get me wrong, Jennings wouldnt be a bad signing, but i feel like the Ravens could use their money more wisely(honesty the same goes for Amendola as well).
Draft a WR
I am going to put one name out there right now. Keenan Allen. Allen is a big bodied possesion WR that fights for the ball in the air and plays extremely physical. sound familiar? Keenan Allen is almost an Anquan Boldin look alike when you watch his tape. He has great hands, wrestles for the ball and runs excellent routes(he ran a full route tree in college). Allen has been slipping from once being the top WR in the draft, to now possibly being the 4th behind Cordarrelle Patterson, Tavon Austin and possibly DeAndre Hopkins(who is rising quickly). He could easily be ther in the mid 20s where the Ravens would have a shot at trading up with a team to get him. it would be a good deal even if the Ravens had to part with a 3rd rounder. The dude can flat out play. Allen didn’t run at the combine because he is recovering from a PCL injury, but as long as he checks out medically the Ravens should pursue him heabily. another option would be to trade out of the first round and take Justin Hunter. Hunter doesn’t play like Boldin, but he is a tall possession WR that has great leaping ability and hands. He is like a younger Plaxico Burress with more speed or a Randy Moss with a little less speed. Hunter is one of my favorite players in the draft, but he has some injury history and the Ravens would need a clean medical report to consider this. The third guy would be Da’Rick Rodgers. Rodgers is a big, strong, fast player with incredible hands and concentration. If he weren’t an idiot off the field, he would be a top 10 pick. as it is the Ravens could definitely have him in the 2nd round and might have a shot at him in the 3rd. The draft is always the best option when looking for a new player, any of these three guys would be excellent fits and good values.