The San Francisco 49ers have traded a sixth round draft pick to their Super Bowl conquerors, the Baltimore Ravens, for wide receiver Anquan Boldin. That's according to a report from NFL.com's Chris Wesseling, citing a tweet from The Baltimore Sun.
The 49ers were clearly thinking of their young quarterback when they made this deal. The trade gives Colin Kaepernick all the tools he needs to succeed in 2013. Boldin may be ageing, but he is the ultimate quarterback-friendly receiver. He will quickly become the dependable target Kaepernick won't be able to live without.
The youthful and athletic passer took teams by surprise when he replaced Alex Smith for the final seven games of the 2012 season. However, pro defenses have now had ample time to scout the fleet-footed quarterback, particularly thanks to the extra attention Kaepernick garnered taking the Niners to the Super Bowl.
Teams have seen how powerful and effective Kaepernick is on the move. Taking away his running lanes, keeping him in the pocket and forcing him to be a classic, dropback passer, will likelybe the main focus of every defense Kaepernick faces in 2013.
Under increased pressure to prove his accuracy and efficiency, Kaepernick will need targets he can trust this season. Receivers don't come much more trustworthy than Boldin.
Joe Flacco may have received most of the plaudits for the Ravens' Lombardi trophy triumph. However, he was certainly helped by knowing he could just put the ball up and trust that Boldin would beat the defender to it.
He is a master at using his body to outmuscle coverage and get open. The tough and resourceful veteran excels at making the difficult catches and is as prolific on the outside as he is over the middle.
The 49ers should know, considering how much they struggled to cope with Boldin in the Super Bowl. The physical flanker mauled the San Francisco secondary and made six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
That sterling effort was part of magnificent postseason for Boldin. He turned the clock back to dominate defenses. He caught two touchdowns in the AFC Championship game to help flatten the New England Patriots. Boldin had already posted five catches for 145 yards and a score to end season for the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Round.
In all honesty, Boldin needed those numbers to remind everyone he could still be a dynamic playmaker. In three seasons for the Ravens he failed to register a 1,000-yard season, although 2012 was his best year in Baltimore.
Those numbers looked bad because Boldin was originally acquired by the AFC North outfit to be their primary receiver. The 49ers only need him to play a complementary role. The truth is that has always suited Boldin best.
When he was with the Arizona Cardinals he worked well as a foil for the great Larry Fitzgerald. For the Ravens, he worked over the middle, while young speedster Torrey Smith attacked defenses vertically.
Boldin hasn't always like being a supporting star, but he simply fits best as a reliable complementary piece. That's certainly what the 49ers need and why they won't about Boldin being 33. Their search to find a capable wideout to ease the pressure on Michael Crabtree can end at leat for a while, after some disastous attempts.
Last year's free agent Mario Manningham never really made the grade, even before injury derailed his first year in San Francisco in Week 17. While 2012's first round draft choice, A.J. Jenkins, was a total bust.
For the vast majority of his career Boldin has been a model pro. He has a stellar track record of coming through in the clutch and always gives his quarterback an easy target to aim for.
Kaepernick will enjoy that same benefit in 2013. By acquiring a weapon like Boldin, who is sure to make him better, Harbaugh has given Kaepernick the right tools to become the 49ers' quarterback for the long-term.