“You know, for me, it was an initial shock because I had no clue that I was going to be traded,” Boldin told ESPN producer Ashly Robinson, who is in Africa to document his trip with fellow NFL receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Roddy White, who are working with Oxfam to restore farmland in Senegal, Africa.
Sources have told ESPN that the Ravens will receive a sixth-round draft choice in the trade, which is contingent on Boldin passing a physical when he returns from Africa.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco reacted with disappointment when he learned of the trade Monday.
“Anquan was a great receiver for myself and for our football team,” said Flacco, who signed a six-year, $120.6 million deal with the Ravens last week. “It’s sad to see a guy like that go, but at the same time you want what’s best for him and you just wish him the best of luck.
“Anquan was a big part of this football team, a big part of this offense. He’s one of the many reasons we won the Super Bowl this year.”
While Smith was upset, Boldin’s potential new quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, was excited by the trade when he spoke with ESPN on Monday.
“If it’s true, it’s a great trade,” Kaepernick told ESPN. “We’re happy to have him. Having a playmaker like that at receiver is something you always want. It’s another weapon for our offense and our team.”
Kaepernick added that he thought the Niners were getting Boldin at a great value.
“He’s a great player,” Kaepernick said. “I don’t think you’re going to find anybody in the sixth round to come in and play better than what he’s doing right now.”
Boldin had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ 34-31 Super Bowl victory over the 49ers. Boldin also had five receptions for 60 yards and two scores against New England in the AFC title game.
But he was due $6 million in 2013, the final year of his contract. After Boldin and the Ravens failed to agree on a restructured deal, Baltimore worked a deal with San Francisco rather than to simply cut him from the roster.
News of the deal came shortly before several members of the Ravens, including Flacco, gathered to watch a screening of a DVD documenting Baltimore’s magical 2012 season.
Boldin and guard Bobbie Williams, whose contract was terminated last week, were featured prominently in the movie. Free agents Paul Kruger, Ed Reed and Dannell Ellerbe may also be gone by the time Baltimore begins training camp starts in July.
A 10-year veteran, Boldin led Baltimore with 65 catches for 921 yards and four TDs in 2012. He was sensational in the postseason, totaling 16 receptions for 276 yards and three scores.
Boldin was also a strong voice in the locker room and a teacher to second-year wide receiver Torrey Smith, who will likely become Flacco’s top target in 2013.
“Definitely shocked,” Smith said of the deal. “You lose a great guy, a great leader. A mentor. All of that.”
Smith was more concerned about being in the huddle without Boldin than taking over as the Ravens’ top pass-catching threat.
“It’s not so much about football when you lose someone like that, someone you love like a brother and would do anything for you,” Smith said.
Boldin spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with Arizona, which lost the 2009 Super Bowl to Pittsburgh. In that game, Boldin caught eight passes for 84 yards.
He came to Baltimore in a trade before the 2010 season. The team reached the playoffs during all three of his seasons with the Ravens.
The Ravens knew changes were coming, so the deal didn’t come as a total shock.
“Not necessarily surprised,” Flacco said. “You see things like this happen every year in the NFL. It’s just the nature of the business. … Now we’ve got to put some faith in our young guys and hope they step up to the table and play the way they’re capable of playing.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.