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Friday, February 6, 2009
Mailbag: What to do with Anquan Boldin

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kevin from Phoenix writes: Mr. Sando, Anquan Boldin is easily my favorite football player in the game today, and I would be heartbroken to see him leave. With that said, I understand the business side of the league, and I think that if the Cardinals don't plan to keep him long term, they should seriously consider trading him now.

I think the perfect trade idea would be sending Boldin to Philly for Sheppard and their 21st pick. This would allow us to throw Hood in at nickel with two number 1 corners, and give us a better shot at landing Brandon Petitgrew, TE out of Oklahoma State. What are your thoughts. Will they trade Boldin? If so is this a viable option? Thanks Mike.

Mike Sando: That wouldn't be too difficult from a salary-cap standpoint because Boldin and Lito Sheppard are past the heavy salary proration in their contracts. The Cardinals do need help at cornerback. I do not know what the Cardinals think of Sheppard or if they would consider him a good fit for their scheme. They'll have a new defensive coordinator now, so that could factor into such a decision.

I do think the Cardinals will consider trading Boldin. Some of this could depend on whether Ken Whisenhunt wants to deal with an unhappy Boldin for another season. If Whisenhunt wants to end this relationship, he appears well positioned to push for a trade. He's coming off a Super Bowl season and he was able to make a bold staff move in parting with Clancy Pendergast, a coach he inherited, after the defense played very well during the playoffs.

I have thought the Cardinals should try to patch up their relationship and find a way to make Boldin part of their future. However, that becomes impossible if the player is determined to force his way out. Joey Galloway took that tack in his negotiations with Seattle years ago. He flat-out wanted to leave the Seahawks, and eventually he got his way.

Boldin would have significant value in the market. If the Cardinals could get first- and third-round draft choices for him, or another attractive compensation package, I think they would have to consider it strongly.


Doug from Chicago writes: Martz to Arizona? I'm not saying I'm for it. I'm just curious as what you think. Could it be incentive enough for Kurt to want to come back? They seem to have the weapons to do what Martz did in STL. They don't have a Faulk, true. But possibly drafting McCoy out of PITT could be a nice start. But all of that being said, do you see this as a possibility? Thanks, Mike.

Mike Sando: Warner really has nowhere to go if he doesn't sign with the Cardinals. Sure, he could uproot his family and finish his career elsewhere. I just don't see that happening. If he plays, I think he stays. The Cardinals will look to maintain what they have going offensively in terms of the system. Whisenhunt knows what he wants to do offensively. He didn't become a head coach so he could hand over the offense to someone else, in my view.


Edward from Tempe writes: Sando, With Todd Haley now in the midst of trying to pick up the pieces of a down and out Kansas City Chiefs team, are the odds against Kurt Warner returning to the Cardinals as QB and will this also affect other key free agents from signing with the Red Birds?

Mike Sando: Losing Haley will not help the Cardinals bring back Warner, but neither will it increase the chances of Warner landing with another team, in my view. Warner wants to keep his family in Arizona. The Cardinals would like to fill the coordinator's position from within. Whisenhunt will strive for offensive continuity. I think they'll set it up as favorably as possible for Warner.


Kegan from Chapel Hill writes: Sando, good work on the blog. I was wondering what the chances are of the 49ers picking up Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency and move Nate Clements to free safety. Asomugha is best corner in the league and it seems like Clements has what it takes to be a great FS. Thanks

Mike Sando: Thanks. I would expect the Raiders to name Asomugha their franchise player again. Al Davis loves cover corners He has had some great ones over the years. I don't think he wants to see this one suiting up across the Bay.

Nate Clements is an aggressive player. He's a very physical cornerback. His style would seem to project well at safety in the future. I just think he still has value at cornerback, so it might be a little early for him to make that transition.


Arlan from Cupertino writes: Hey mike i keep reading about two back systems vs. one back systems and i think the niners would be better off having a two back system. not only would it extend the career of frank gore (cuz we know that running backs who receive an absurd amount of carries tend to become less effective earlier ie. larry johnson) but it would also allow him to be fresher later in the season (that is if the niners ever make it to the month of december and are still relevant).

Granted he is the best offensive weapon they have but is it worth it if he's only a great back for another two years? i've also heard rumors that the giants won't be able sign both jacobs and ward. if they don't sign Jacobs, would the niners be able to sign him or would he be demanding starter money?

we already know he's willing to share carries and that would give the niners an explosive back in gore and a short yardage, pound the defense back as well. Also, if they can't get that kind of back in free agency are there any backs like that in the draft? thanks for all your work on the NFC west

Mike Sando: I would expect the 49ers to find a back to better complement Frank Gore, but I don't necessarily see them reducing Gore's carries significantly. We're dealing with the unknown a little bit here, given that Jimmy Raye is new on the job as offensive coordinator. I don't have a great feel for how the 49ers will want to do things, although Thomas Jones was definitely The Man for the Jets when Raye was there as running backs coach. As for the draft, I don't have a great feel for the running backs at this time.


Andy from Webster, N.Y., writes: It would be interesting if Pioli / Haley could persuade Warner to finish his career in KC - vs Cassel or another QB learning Haley's offense. Also, would it make sense for KC and Arizona to consider a Johnson for Boldin swap?

Mike Sando: I expect Warner to return to Arizona if he plays in 2009. Larry Johnson would come with baggage. This offense is going through Larry Fitzgerald. I'd be careful about adding a player who has shown he'll put himself ahead of the team in the things he says and through his off-field actions.


Goose from Seattle writes: Mike! Now that Haley is going to be the head coach of KC, how do you think it will affect their draft? Think they will target Crabtree now? Keep up the good work!

Mike Sando
:
Thanks much. Scott Pioli will run the draft room in Kansas City, so I'm thinking he'll follow the New England way, not necessarily the Arizona way. But if Haley thinks Michael Crabtree is the next Fitzgerald, I'm sure Pioli would respect that assessment and give it some consideration. Haley would know.