Every offseason, the Ravens have to make difficult free-agency decisions.
This year is no different, and trading wide receiver Anquan Boldin certainly fell in that category for General Manager Ozzie Newsome.
The San Francisco 49ers officially announced the trade (pending a physical)*on Tuesday. Boldin is in Africa, so it's not yet officially complete. The draft pick the Ravens will get in return *was not officially announced, but is reportedly a sixth-rounder.
"Managing and assembling your roster is difficult and among the most important things we do," Newsome said in a press release. "It is not always pleasant, and in the case of Anquan, it is unpleasant."
Boldin, 32, had a strong 2012 season, catching 65 passes for 921 yards (both highs during his three years in Baltimore). He was particularly valuable in the playoffs, hauling in 22 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
"We know he can still play at a high level," Newsome said. "What he has done in his three seasons with us goes well beyond the numbers, and his numbers are very good.
"He fit in as a Raven from Day One. His leadership, just by the way he played and prepared, was a powerful force for us. And when we needed the tough catch in important times, he made those. Look at his production in our Super Bowl run. He stepped up in a big way. When he wasn't targeted, or when we weren't passing, his blocking was outstanding."
Boldin was well-liked inside the Ravens locker room and coaches consistently extolled his virtues. The Ravens are not typically in the habit of trading away draft picks, but surrendered third- and fourth-round picks in 2010 to acquire the physical wideout.
Boldin led the Ravens in receiving yards all three seasons in purple and black. And he was a major reason why they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy just more than a month ago.
"We all thank 'Q' for what he did for the Ravens over the last three years," Newsome said.
Newsome made difficult decisions during the 2011 offseason when he released wide receiver Derrick Mason, tight end Todd Heap, running back Willis McGahee and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg. He and the Ravens saw guard Ben Grubbs, linebacker Jarret Johnson and defensive end Cory Redding leave via free agency last offseason.
But in the following seasons, respectively, the Ravens went to the AFC championship and won the Super Bowl, showing they have been adept at filling voids after tough roster losses.
It has begun again this year with Boldin off to San Francisco and outside linebacker Paul Kruger reportedly signing with the Cleveland Browns. There could be more to come with linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, safety Ed Reed, cornerback Cary Williams and tackle Bryant McKinnie (all Super Bowl starters) officially on the market.