Not really the worst trade in NFL history

Trading wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers was the Baltimore Ravens' biggest mistake of the offseason. Was it the worst trade in NFL history?

That's the assertion of ESPN's Rick Reilly:

Just to repeat: They wanted the guy who helped lead them to a world championship to take a $2 million pay cut! And what else? Sweep out the boxes afterward? And what did the Ravens do with all the money they saved on Boldin? They spent it on defense. That defense then went to Denver and gave up the most points in franchise history. It may be the worst trade in NFL history.

Here's the real bottom line: the Ravens were either going to trade Boldin or release him because he refused a pay cut. So, the fact that the Ravens got a sixth-round pick was a good trade for the Ravens in one respect. They would've got nothing for Boldin if they cut him. Baltimore used that sixth-round pick to move up in the second round to draft Arthur Brown, who is considered the future at inside linebacker.

Would I have traded Boldin? No way. I've repeatedly written that shipping Boldin was the one move that the Ravens would regret. But it's hardly the worst trade in NFL history, and I get the sense that Reilly is poking fun at the situation when ranking Boldin behind the acquisition of Alaska in terms of worst deals. When you're debating the worst trades in NFL history, it's hard to forget the Saints trading their entire draft for Ricky Williams or the Falcons trading Brett Favre for a first-round pick (which turned out to be the far-from-legendary running back Tony Smith).

In fact, this can't go down as the worst trade in Baltimore NFL history. In 1983, the Colts sent John Elway to the Broncos. About 10 months later, the Colts relocated to Indianapolis. When you put it in that context, it's hard for Baltimore football fans to wring their hands over losing Boldin.