First and most important response to the Anquan Boldin trade: WOW, what a deal for the 49ers, even if this is built to be a one-year rental.
This is how you work an offseason. You build up a stash of draft picks, create (some) flexibility on the payroll, then jump at a potential game-changing move when the risk is lowest, the cost is almost nil and the chances of success are highest. The 49ers still need help at other positions, but you can cross off playmaking wide receiver.
I'm reminded that when former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan drafted Michael Crabtree in 2009, McCloughan was most effusive when he said that Crabtree was the closest thing to Boldin in that draft. Now the 49ers have both of them.
The McCloughan/Trent Baalke combo administration has always loved big, aggressive players, and Boldin is the definition of that at wide receiver.
Boldin and Crabtree are different kinds of NFL receivers now, both effective, as the postseason proved.
Crabtree is a glider/route-runner and someone who likes to get into open space, then run through tackles if he can.
Boldin isn't a speedster, either, but he's pure physicality, someone who can bump with defensive backs and still go up and get a ball, and I do believe Carlos Rogers is aware of that from Super Bowl XLVII.
And that's what the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick really could've used in the Super Bowl (I'm thinking the last three plays at the goal line, maybe?).
The point of this: The Ravens weren't going to keep Boldin at $6 million for one more year, so they went looking for any kind of deal knowing that they were going to cut him soon. The 49ers had the extra pick, and there's your trade. Anquan Boldin for a sixth-round pick.
It's weird for one Super Bowl team to hand over a key player in the game to the other Super Bowl team for very little, but oh well, that's how these things happen sometimes.
The 49ers have apparently made the decision that they're OK with the $6 million, and if this is a one-year rental, they're OK with that, too. One year of Boldin and Crabtree, with Vernon Davis in the middle ... that's not bad at all. I would think Kaepernick is quite pleased, and Greg Roman, too.
And if the 49ers can restructure or extend Boldin's deal, he's a far better two- or three-year prospect for them than Randy Moss was when they landed him last season.
Four more points about this:
All deals have lives of their own; I'm sure Baalke was working on this one for days if not weeks. You don't make deals reacting to your rival, you do what's best for your team.
Harvin was an intriguing deal for Seattle, and he definitely makes the Seahawks an even more challenging opponent than they were before, and they already were very challenging for the 49ers.
Boldin was a fantastic pickup for the 49ers, no matter what Seattle is doing.
And now these are probably the two most talented teams in the NFL, across the board (especially when you subtract Boldin from Baltimore). Whew, the NFC West is going to be fun for a while.
Richard Sherman defending Boldin twice a year and maybe three times if there's a playoff meeting? Just think about that for a while.
Talentwise, that's probably a fair deal ... with the knowledge that the 49ers might still end up getting Goldson for less than he's demanding, because of the glut of available safeties right now.
That's one of the countless reasons why the 49ers had to trade Smith, by the way. You know: To get better.