Late for Work 2/26: Combine Rumor: Boldin To Be Traded

Plus Antonio Bryant is done in Tampa, potential Ravens draft targets, and Miami TEs.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 9:09 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Combine Rumor: Boldin To Be Traded

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Pro Football Talk’s Gregg Rosenthal laid out a big disclaimer in his “Boldin will finally get dealt” blog.

The disclaimer is that a respectable journalist would be too responsible to write about such a rumor. So, take that for what it’s worth.

Having said that, Rosenthal also added the Anquan Boldin trade notion is coming from “people who know what they are talking about.”

Boldin trade gossip was incessant this time last year, yet nothing ever happened. Speculators believe the Cardinals are more open to the idea this time around because Boldin only has one year left on his contract (a reported $3 million), he has health concerns and teammate Steve Breaston has emerged as a starting receiver.

Rosenthal believes Boldin’s trade value has declined from last year’s asking price of a first and third-round pick to a second-round pick “and change.”

“While Boldin’s health is a question mark, he’s only 29 years old and is known as a great locker room leader,” Rosenthal said.  “Baltimore tops the list of teams that will be interested and Miami also makes sense.”

“Expect to hear a lot more about Boldin in the build up to April’s draft.  This time, it should pay off in a trade.”

If there is increased chatter, it won’t be coming from the Ravens’ team headquarters. Boldin is still under contract and Ravens brass knows that discussing the possibility of his coming to Baltimore would be considered tampering. So it’s unknown if Ozzie Newsome is even entertaining the idea.

As he indicated in the State of the Ravens press conference earlier this month, however, Newsome is open to listening to any proposal.

“If we get something, or some team calls us and is willing to make us an offer for basically any player – we’ll sit there and listen to it, and then we’ll talk about it,” Newsome explained. “And if there is an opportunity for us to improve our team by trading away a player, which will allow us to get another player, then we’ll do it.”

Boldin has racked up five 1,000-yard campaigns during his seven-year career, including 1,024 yards on 84 receptions last season.

WR Antonio Bryant Finished in Tampa Bay

Bucs Head Coach Raheem Morris said Tampa Bay is choosing to “move on” from wide receiver Antonio Bryant, according to Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times.

“Antonio missed a significant amount of time last year,” said Morris. “And I’m not going to blame Antonio, but really, right now we’re going in a young direction. We’re going to choose to move on.”

After a breakout 1,248-yard campaign in 2008, Bryant was franchised by the Bucs.  But, he struggled to recover from offseason knee surgery and re-aggravated it in November, which forced him to miss two midseason games. Bryant finished with 39 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns in 2009.

Bryant will be an intriguing unrestricted free agent because he’s a homerun-threat receiver with good size (6-1) and top-notch speed, but his injuries and a 2007 suspension (NFL substance abuse policy violation) make signing him a gamble. He will likely be seeking top-dollar this offseason, but his value in teams’ eyes remains to be seen.

Graham to Continue Rich Hurricane Pedigree?

NFL.com’s Jason Feller points out that in the past decade, four tight ends from the University of Miami were drafted in the first round: Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow and Greg Olsen. Not a single other school had more than one tight end be selected in the first round over the past 10 years.

Jimmy Graham is the next top tight end coming out of Miami and looks to impress scouts at the combine this week. He may catch the Ravens’ attention, as Baltimore will have two tight ends under contract on March 5 (Todd Heap and Davon Drew) and L.J. Smith will be an unrestricted free agent. Last week, the Ravens terminated the contract of veteran tight end Quinn Sypniewski after he failed a physical and the team will likely look to add depth at the position this offseason.

Potential Offensive Draft Targets

With the Ravens in full force at the combine in Indianapolis, ESPN’s James Walker writes that Baltimore may be targeting these offensive weapons: Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham, Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn, Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez, Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate.

As the season went on, it became obvious that Baltimore’s lack of big-play receivers would prevent the team from competing for a championship,” said Walker. “There was no way the Ravens could keep up with the likes of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees by running the ball 52 times, which is what Baltimore did to win its opening playoff game.”

“Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome admitted that his goal moving forward is to build a team that can win offensive shootouts as well as defensive struggles. So this offseason is mostly about surrounding quarterback Joe Flacco with the proper weapons to make sure he reaches his full potential.”

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