This is the return of You Heard It Here First where bold predictions are the norm and crazy theories are allowed to run wild.
It may be Super Bowl Sunday but I’m already looking ahead to the offseason and in this addition of You Heard It Here First I thought I’d tackle one of the major pieces of Joe Flacco’s offense – his troublesome receiving corps.
Now I hear what you’re saying – you didn’t think there was much wrong with the receivers Baltimore has right? Well I’d disagree. There are three main points to consider here. First of all, Torrey Smith isn’t a truly legitimate deep threat – yet. He’s coming along nicely but to date he’s covered a little too easily and when isolated can disappear. So, in my opinion, the Ravens could use a second genuine deep ball receiver.
Second, there is the team’s cap situation. They have plenty of room – currently it is estimated the team is under the cap for 2013 by some $16M – but with Joe Flacco due to get the big payoff in the coming months and Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger all being free agents there is some belt tightening needed. As such, Boldin will at least be required to reduce his contract and if he refuses there’s a decent chance the Ravens choose to cut him.
Lastly, there is the fact that Boldin’s role can be filled relatively easily. Jacoby Jones has played well this season and could be a cheap replacement as the team’s primary possession receiver. There’s also tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson to fill that role as well as the dynamic Ray Rice out of the backfield. All this makes Boldin expendable.
Ok, so Boldin could be gone. So, I hear you say, why the heck should Baltimore go and pay for Greg Jennings?
First off, let’s address the cap situation. The Ravens do have some depth at linebacker despite Ray Lewis’ retirement. Courtney Upshaw was a genius pick in the 2012 draft and is the future at the outside and is worthy of some trust. This makes either Kruger or Ellerbe easier to let go.
As for Ed Reed, the team should send strong hints to his agent that they don’t intend to re-sign him so he can retire gracefully as a Raven. To put it frankly he is going to be too much of a cap problem and not worth the price tag. This team needs to transition to the future anyway and now is the perfect time to say goodbye to the veteran safety – which, for the record, really hurts me to say as I consider Ed Reed one of my five favorite players in the NFL.
These moves plus the removal of Boldin would give the team the ability to pursue Jennings. While he’s had his issues over the past year or two, all the talent is still there for the Packers WR as evidenced by some terrific performances in 2012. He would provide an esperienced threat both downfield and in the shorter passing game and instantly forces opposing defenses to make sure he’s covered which would help open up space for Ray Rice and the tight ends up the middle or Torrey Smith further downfield.
All year there’s been this suggestion that Baltimore’s offense is missing something. I believe we’re going to see this in today’s Super Bowl and that something has to be done about it in the offseason. Should the Baltimore Ravens cut Anquan Boldin to sign Greg Jennings? If it happens, I certainly won’t be surprised and now neither will you because You Heard It Here First.