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Should the Chiefs be Pursuing Arizona WR Anquan Boldin?

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As the dust settles on the 2009 NFL draft, it's clear that the biggest need after the draft for the Kansas City Chiefs is another solid wide receiver.

The team drafted WR/KR Quinten Lawrence in the 6th round of this past weekend's draft and that was the extent of the wide receiver help the Chiefs pursued in the draft. Lawrence isn't even a lock to make the Chiefs' final 53-man roster in August so clearly he isn't the next top receiver the Chiefs inevitably have on their minds.

What can the Chiefs do? Any serviceable free agent wide receivers were signed a long time ago. What options do we have for finding a solid WR out there? We signed a few already this off season, Bobby Engram and C.J. Wright but they are far from being reliable #2 type receivers.

That brings us to a popular off season topic around the NFL - Arizona WR Anquan Boldin. He's been brought up around here plenty of times before but not since the draft ended have we seriously discussed his situation.

The Situation

Drafted in the second round of the 2003 NFL draft, Anquan Boldin has lit up the NFC West for going on six years now. Here are his career stats:

Year G GS Rec. Yards Avg. TD
2008 12 11 89 1,038 11.7 11
2007 12 11 71 853 12 9
2006 16 16 83 1,203 14.5 4
2005 14 14 102 1,402 13.7 7
2004 10 9 56 623 11.1 1
2003 16 16 101 1,377 13.6 8

Boldin has been to three Pro Bowls, was named Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2003 and reportedly has an incredible work ethic. His younger brother just signed a deal with the Lions too.

What isn't in question with Anquan Boldin is his talent. Despite being paired up with WR Larry Fitzgerald, it's clear that Anquan Boldin is not riding Fitzgerald's coat tails. In 2003, the year before Fitgerald was drafted by the Cardinals, as you can see Boldin had, ahem, 101 catches. Enough said.

Things started to go sour with Boldin and the Cardinals in August 2008. Essentially, to save you a lot of time and unecessary details, Boldin felt that he wasn't being compensated properly and wanted a new contract. The team and Boldin did that back and forth thing...."I want to remain a Cardinal"......"We have no intentions of trading Anquan Boldin"...etc.

Right now, it stands that Boldin isn't happy but would remain a Cardinal if need be. Sound familiar?

There were reports of the Ravens and Giants being interested in trading for Boldin before and during draft weekend but nothing materialized. Does this mean that Boldin isn't likely to be traded? Possibly. Here is what Revenge of the Birds had to say on March 12th:

I'd also almost guarantee that if Boldin still a Cardinal on April 27th (day after draft) that he'll be a Cardinal for the 2010 season. Player for player trades are extremely rare and trading him in July for picks in the 2010 draft does nothing to help this current squad.

Hawkwind makes a good point there. Boldin's trade possibilities are fewer now that the draft is over. Now, we'd be looking at 2010 draft picks for Boldin.

Speaking of those....

Trade compensation

What's the going rate for a receiver like Anquan Boldin? Initially, it was thought that the Cardinals would want a deal like the trade for WR Roy Williams to the Cowboys - a 1st, 3rd and 6th round pick - but considering that was one of the worst trades ever IMO, the true asking price was likely less.

And the Cardinals confirmed this "true" price right before the draft, now saying that Anquan Boldin was available for trade for as low as a second round pick plus some other form of compensation, maybe a later pick.

Now that the draft is over, is a 2010 second round pick on the table for Anquan Boldin? The odds of that are probably low, which in turn means the odds of Boldin actually being traded are low as well. Arizona, who just went to the Super Bowl last year, is still in championship mode and would require something to help them this year.

Unless the Cardinals are definitely keeping Boldin, they're going to have to accept draft picks from next year. Those are really the only bargaining chips left right now.

The Chiefs have two 2010 second round picks. But would the Cardinals bite on either one of those?

Trading within the family

Pretty much the only reason I'm writing this post is because Todd Haley knows Anquan Boldin from his time in Arizona. And this current Chiefs regime has shown a tendency to work with their former employers and colleagues to get deals done.

The Chiefs traded with Scott Pioli's former team the Patriots to get Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel. The Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta deal was worked out with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff was New England's director of college scouting from 2003 to 2007, working directly with Scott Pioli in the personnel department.

Does this connection to his former team mean Haley is likely to trade for Boldin? Not at all. It's just another reason why the Chiefs may pursue Boldin.

Why haven't the Chiefs been in the mix?

As far as I can tell, the Ravens and Giants are the only two teams to have seriously considered trading for Anquan Boldin. The Kansas City Chiefs have been nowhere near this trade talk and for good reason - the Chiefs didn't have a second round pick this year to trade and the Cardinals needed just that.

Revenge of the Birds broke down the Boldin trade partner possibilities a few weeks ago and the Chiefs weren't even close to being in the building.

Now, with the draft out of the way, the Chiefs are now on an even playing field with other teams if Boldin is still being shopped.

Players and picks

I get the feeling from reading various articles that the Cardinals aren't balking on second round compensation for Boldin and that the "extra" compensation could come in the form of later draft picks or players.

With the Cardinals expected to release RB Edgerrin James, is Larry Johnson a possibility as a 5th-6th round equivalent compensation? Do the Cardinals see LJ as a one to two year solution at running back? Probably not.

Trade unlikely?

When you break it all down, it's unlikely, barring a huge blowup between Boldin and Arizona where he refuses to take the field, that Boldin leaves Arizona this season.

Perhaps next year during draft time we'll hear these same rumors fly up about a trade but for now, Boldin appears he'll remain in Arizona because there will be no suitable trade for him.

Day dreaming

So Boldin probably isn't going to be traded but a guy can dream, right? Check out his 2008 highlights below:

Lots of you have been talking about Anquan Boldin for some time now. Check out the related stories below and the search results on AP for Boldin's name.

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