COMMENTARY | Last year, it was Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs.
This time, it’s Anquan Boldin.
The San Francisco 49ers gave up next to nothing in a trade to acquire Boldin, the very Baltimore Ravens wide receiver who helped beat San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII just last month.
According to several reports, including The Associated Press, the 49ers gave up a sixth-round draft pick to get Boldin, who days before expressed his disdain with Baltimore and its unwillingness to pay him his full contract amount.
This means, for the second straight season, the San Francisco 49ers went after a big-time player who previously played for the team that knocked the 49ers out of the playoffs.
Around this time last year, San Francisco – a few months after losing to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game – signed Manningham and Jacobs, both of whom played for that Giants team which went on to win the Super Bowl.
This is all part of the “screw you” personality 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has injected into this team.
Harbaugh’s philosophy seems to be: If you actually manage to beat us, you’re going to pay for it.
To be fair, Jacobs didn’t pan out at all this season and his days in San Francisco are done.
But Manningham appears to be a nice addition (second most receptions on the team) despite the fact that he blew out his knee late in the year.
Considering the reasonable salaries for both players, 1-of-2 isn’t bad in the world of free agency.
That’s exactly what makes this Boldin trade yet another great move by Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke.
These two are smart enough to realize that there is a certain risk involved in any type of player acquisition, whether it’s by trade, free agency or draft.
Notice that in the Harbaugh/Baalke years, San Francisco has yet to go after the “hot” free agent.
Remember in 2011 when everyone was in a bidding war for cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and the 49ers were in desperate need of a corner?
In the end, the Philadelphia Eagles paid big money for Asomugha and the 49ers later settled for Carlos Rogers at a bargain price.
Rogers went to the Pro Bowl that year. Asomugha has been such a disappointment, the Eagles cut him.
The bottom line is the 49ers know how to shop for players and fill needs without sticking their necks out too much.
It’s like while everyone is emptying their wallets on the iPhone 5, San Francisco is picking up the iPhone 4s, which has all the same features for a third of the price.
The Seattle Seahawks picked up the proverbial iPhone 5 when they traded for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin.
The price for Seattle was this year’s first-round draft pick and more, according to reports.
Meanwhile, Harbaugh, Baalke and company patiently waited for the first team to make a move before swooping in for the higher-value deal.
Will Boldin excel with the 49ers? Will Harvin make the Seahawks unstoppable? Who knows?
The bigger point is that you can’t get caught up in the flashy names, and this San Francisco staff has proven it doesn’t.
So far, it’s a staff that hasn’t made a lot of wrong moves.