The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, the top two teams in the NFC West and formidable play-off squads last season, have emerged as early Super Bowl favorites thanks to two dynamic trades.
Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to the 49ers this past Monday for a sixth round draft pick, while former Vikings wideout Percy Harvin was dealt to the Seahawks the same day for multiple draft picks, including their first rounder. The two trades occurred the day before NFL free agency began, which is when NFL teams are allowed to officially begin negotiating with their players on new contracts.
Boldin, 32, played a big part in the Ravens’ surprising Super Bowl title last season, catching six passes for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl against San Francisco. He is a big, physical receiver who is a major threat on third down and in the red zone, something the 49ers lacked last season. Boldin’s presence can benefit quarterback Colin Kaepernick by occupying more of the defense’s attention, allowing Kaepernick and running back Frank Gore to rush the ball more effectively.
The 49ers gave up a sixth-round draft choice to the Ravens in exchange for Boldin. On the other hand, the Ravens had legitimate reason to trade Boldin, who refused to take a pay cut in his contract. Boldin’s contract was set to expire, likely leading to the end of his tenure in Baltimore.
Harvin, 24, served as a dynamic playmaker for the Vikings the past four seasons and now he goes to a young and talented Seahawks team. In nine games last season, he caught 62 passes for 677 receiving yards and three touchdowns, while also returning kickoffs.
He displays great speed and exceptional hands that can improve Seattle’s receiving game. Harvin could become quarterback Russell Wilson’s top target over the next five to seven years.