Anquan Boldin has reportedly rejected the Ravens' attempt to restructure his contract, and it appears now that he will be released and become a free agent by Tuesday.
Early on Saturday, reports surfaced that the Ravens would cut Boldin if they could not restructure his contract. Boldin is set to make $6 million, and he counts about $7.5 million toward the salary cap.
USA Today's Jarrett Bell reported that Boldin has rejected the Ravens offer and is prepared to become a free agent. Boldin has not commented on the negotiations, and according to USA Today, the Ravens offer did not include an extension. So it appears that the Ravens simply wanted to cut Boldin's salary.
Just last month, Boldin had said he was prepared to retire as a Raven, saying "It’s the last place that I will play. For me, I’ll retire a Raven, I’m not putting on any other uniform.”
“We have a saying,” Boldin added, “once a Raven, always a Raven, and I’ll always be a Raven.”
Boldin is entering the final year of a four-year contract he signed with the Ravens in 2010. His $6 million contract was always viewed as one of the most problematic for the Ravens, who are struggling to stay under the salary cap.
Boldin's statement might have seemed to give the Ravens leverage in terms of asking him for a pay cut. It's also possible that, facing an outright rejection by Boldin, the Ravens and Boldin will continue to negotiate. Free agency begins Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Boldin, 32, appears to still have plenty left in the tank after 10 NFL seasons. He was the Ravens’ leading receiver this regular season, with 65 catches for 921 yards and four touchdowns. He had a phenomenal postseason run, with 22 catches for 380 yards and four more touchdowns, including two in the AFC Championship Game and one in the Super Bowl.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, at the news conference announcing his new six-year contract, described Boldin as “a beast” and said he’s hoping the 10-year receiver will return next season.
“He’s been a big part of this offense,” Flacco said. “He’s a big part of why I’m standing here today talking to you guys. [The new contract] definitely increases my confidence that we’ll have him back, and I hope we do.”
General manager Ozzie Newsome said at his postseason news conference that the Ravens would not restructure a lot of veteran deals to keep this team together – a mistake the team made after their lawst Super Bowl run – but if any deal was to be restructured, Boldin’s deal was always considered a leading contender.
The Ravens still have a lot of work to do before Tuesday at 4 p.m., when free agency begins. They must be under the salary cap of $123 million, and reportedly had about $12 million in cap space as of Friday, after they released guard Bobbie Williams. But that did not include any restricted free agent tenders, which will be applied to players such as Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson and Arthur Jones, nor did it include any deals with their own pending free agents such as Dannell Ellerbe and Ed Reed.