Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks in the third quarter of the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

John Harbaugh: Anquan Boldin Trade Was "Painful"

The Ravens joint practices with the 49ers, otherwise known as “HarbCamp,” begins today.  For three days, the Niners will practice with the Ravens at the Under Armour Performance Center in a move that should be mutually beneficial to both teams and provide them with a little extra competition to get them ready for some real games.  It’s a move made possibly by the team’s family ties at head coach – the duo of Jim and John Harbaugh (better known as the “HarBros”).  The media took the opportunity to ask John about the Anquan Boldin trade to the 49ers.

John and Jim spoke to the press prior to the first practice on Saturday, and addressed the constant speculation that the teams will have some heated fights out on the field.  Even more interesting were John’s comments when asked about trading current 49er Anquan Boldin away following the Super Bowl a year and a half ago.

“It was very painful,” Harbaugh said.  “We tried like crazy to keep Anquan.  We were fighting against a number.”

John’s comments would make the trades seem like it was strictly a salary cap decision and nothing else.  The Ravens had asked Boldin to take a pay cut following the Super Bowl, a game in which he had played a vital role by racking up six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.  He would have carried a $7.531 million cap figure if the Ravens had kept him on the roster last year.  Boldin was also 33 at the time, and the team was likely concerned about his inevitable decline.

Boldin refused to take a pay cut, and the 49ers were more than happy to cough up a sixth round pick for the wide receiver.  Boldin proceeded to help the team reach the NFC Championship game last year and played a big role in the offense, racking up 85 receptions for 1,179 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Meanwhile, the Ravens sorely missed his presence in the middle of the field and dropped to a bottom 3 NFL offense, missing the playoffs in the process.

We certainly can’t blame Boldin for refusing to take a paycut, and his trade is most likely a mistake that the Ravens wish they could take back.  It’s a big part of the reason why they went after Steve Smith so hard in free agency, as both share a toughness and veteran presence that is hard to find in today’s NFL.  And the Ravens hope that Smith, like Boldin, can take them back to the promised land and another Super Bowl victory.


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