Sat., Apr. 25 (3:05p): Boldin A Raven If TE Taken
By Joe Platania
Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 3:05 p.m.
OWINGS MILLS -- According to a broadcast report, the Ravens have finally decided to pull the trigger on a deal that would bring disgruntled Arizona Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin to Baltimore.
The proposed deal would send tight end Todd Heap -- the franchise's all-time leading receiver in yards, catches and touchdowns -- back to the area where he played his college ball (Arizona State), as well as where he played in high school (Mesa Mountain View).
Along with Heap, the Ravens would send this year's second-round pick -- the 57th overall selection -- to the Cardinals for Boldin.
All of this is reportedly contingent on the Ravens' being able to select Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew in the first round.
That may not be as easy as it sounds, considering the teams that are coveting a tight end, such as the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles. Either one of them might decide to swing an upward trade that could put them ahead of the Ravens in the drafting order.
Not only are the Bills and Eagles in the tight end market, but the Cardinals could use one after having to rely on journeyman Stephen Spach through the second half of last season.
Also, the Carolina Panthers -- one of three teams that currently don't have a first-round pick -- could use a tight end to get defenders off superstar receiver Steve Smith.
Heap has proven to be the kind of tough receiving tight end that symbolizes the team, but foot and ankle injuires have reduced his role to that of a blocker.
The 31st overall pick in 2001 -- the first player selected after the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV -- caught just 35 passes last year with three touchdowns.
However, Heap is the Ravens' all-time leader in the three major pass-catching categories with 374 receptions, 30 touchdowns and 4300 yards.
Flanker Derrick Mason is expected to pass Heap soon on at least two of those lists; he has 337 catches, 3947 yards and 15 scores.
As a college player in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Florida State-bred Boldin has already made an impression on local audiences, starting 23 games for the Seminoles and even playing a game at quarterback -- firing a 40-yard touchdown against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl -- when the depleted team needed him.
Boldin suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament at the start of his junior year, but recovered to get back on the field and win the conference's Brian Piccolo Award, given to the league's most courageous player.
Boldin has 502 career pro receptions as a Cardinal, along with 40 touchdowns. Eleven of those scores, a single-season career high, came during the 2008 season. Boldin is also the fastest man in NFL history to reach the 400-catch mark, doing so after just 67 career games.
Boldin's 11 touchdowns were one more than Ravens wideouts caught last season. The Ravens' receivers have caught just 18 scores the past two years, tied with Washington for the third-lowest total in the league.
In two career games against the Ravens, Boldin has accumulated 20 catches for 276 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the Cards' narrow 26-23 loss at M&T Bank Stadium in September, 2007.
During Arizona's fourth-quarter comeback, Boldin caught touchdown passes of five and 32 yards from Kurt Warner as the Cardinals tied the game. However, Ravens kicker Matt Stover pulled out the win with a 46-yard field goal at the final gun.
Boldin and teammate Larry Fitzgerald are also two of just 39 receivers in NFL history to be named to two Pro Bowls in their first four seasons, a list that includes Torry Holt, Randy Moss, Keyshawn Johnson, Sterling Sharpe, Lynn Swann and the wideout most consider the game's best-ever, Jerry Rice.
However, Boldin expressed discontent with Arizona management after Fitzgerald was inked to a four-year, $40 million deal. Earlier this week, the Cardinals indicated they would listen to trade offers for Boldin, but emphasized that they still wish to sign him to a long-term deal.
Many Cards' fans final image of Boldin was his sideline argument with offensive coordinator Todd Haley -- now the Kansas City Chiefs' head coach -- during the climactic moments of the NFC Championship Game victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
(Stay with the Ravens Report all weekend for frequent updates from the Ravens' Owings Mills headquarters, including thumbnails of all the team's picks and comments from Newsome, head coach John Harbaugh, player personnel director Eric DeCosta and college scouting director Joe Hortiz.)