<
>

Boldin could help Flacco take flight

As much as Baltimore Ravens fans will rejoice about finally landing a top-flight receiver in Anquan Boldin, the happiest person right now should be quarterback Joe Flacco.

The Ravens said this offseason would be about making sure the budding, third-year player has the right pieces in place to reach his full potential, and Friday's trade for Boldin is a tremendous step in the right direction.

A possible receiving group of Boldin, Derrick Mason (if he's re-signed), Mark Clayton and Donte' Stallworth will give Flacco and the Ravens a lot of options next season in the passing game.

"Anquan is a player who makes the tough catches, and he is outstanding getting yards after catches," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. "He will also help the running game with his blocking skills. He's a very tough competitor, and with the way he plays with passion, he'll fit right in with the foundation we have for our team."

With Baltimore only giving up its third- and fourth-round picks, the team can still select a dynamic tight end or an additional receiver high in the draft to further improve the offense. In return, the Ravens signed Boldin to a $28 million contract and got a fifth-round pick from the Arizona Cardinals.

Baltimore was restricted this year in free agency due to the "Final Eight Plan." So making a trade for Boldin was the easiest way to dramatically improve. The Ravens already have a stout offensive line and a great running game led by Pro Bowl tailback Ray Rice, and Boldin's presence will add a new dimension to their passing game.

The Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns in the AFC North all entered this offseason needing help at wide receiver. But Baltimore made the first splash within the division--and it was a big one.