The Cardinals said Wednesday they are willing to entertain trade offers from other teams for wideout Anquan Boldin, although they still want to sign him to a new deal.
With the Cardinals and Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin still seeking a resolution to their differences, the team said Wednesday it is willing to entertain trade offers from teams interested in Boldin's services.
While the team still wants to retain Boldin long-term and negotiate a contract extension, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, it also wants to keep all options open with the draft approaching.
"Before the draft, you know there is going to talk about Anquan and his situation and a trade," Whisenhunt said. "Since not a whole lot has changed with his contractual situation, we know that will come back up.
"It would be foolish from our standpoint not to listen to those opportunities and see what actually exists. But I want to make the point … our goal is to re-sign him to a long-term deal. That hasn't changed."
Said general manager Rod Graves, "We just think it is prudent for us to evaluate all our options."
The Cardinals have already talked some with other teams, although Graves declined to say which ones.
Boldin, who has been looking for a new contract, still has two years left on his current deal. Because of that, the Cardinals don't feel a sense of urgency to deal Boldin. If a trade isn't consummated before the first day of the draft April 25, it is unlikely Boldin is going anywhere.
"Hopefully something gets done," Boldin told cbssports.com this week. "We'll see what happens. At this point I'm leaving it up to everyone else and just trying to enjoy life." The comment echoed similar sentiments from Boldin during Kurt Warner's charity flag football tournament last month.
The market for Boldin is unknown. Reportedly, the Browns would consider trading wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who does not have Boldin's résumé. Teams like the Giants, Eagles and Bears – all of whom are expected to be possible NFC playoff foils for the Cards – might be in the market for a wideout.
But after the Cowboys gave Detroit a first-, third- and sixth-round draft pick for Roy Williams last season – and most don't consider Williams as good as Boldin – the Cards are expected to want a significant return to let Boldin go.
Graves said he didn't want to comment on what the Cards would seek in a trade.
Even Boldin's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said in a radio appearance earlier this offseason Boldin should be worth at least the same in a trade as Williams.
Boldin, who has not appeared at any of the Cardinals' voluntary workouts this offseason, will be in Florida this weekend hosting his annual "Q Fest" to raise money for his charitable foundation.
Rosenhaus did visit with Graves last week, but Graves said that meeting and the Cards' current thoughts on Boldin are unrelated. Rosenhaus does represent a handful of other Cardinals, including Edgerrin James, Darnell Dockett and Antrel Rolle.
Getting a new contract worked out "is going to be a challenge going forward," Graves acknowledged. "We realize (Boldin's) value and what he means to our football team. … We are having to weigh a lot of other factors into the process and timing is one of those things as far as getting something done."
Boldin has been upset with his contract status for more than a year. Last season the idea of a trade was broached, although Boldin's situation did not become a national story until Boldin was blunt during a meeting with the media on the first day of training camp.
The tension remained all season, although Boldin still played well and was an integral part of the Cards' offense. His issues seemed to resurface in the postseason after he left the field quickly during the celebration of the NFC Championship, but Boldin deflected that talk through the Super Bowl.
He reiterated his stance that he didn't want to stay in Arizona during Pro Bowl week, but then softened that view around the time of the NFL scouting combine, when Rosenhaus told Graves Boldin was now again open to a new contract.
"We didn't want it out there that we were trying to trade Anquan – that's not our position," Whisenhunt said. "We still feel strongly about Anquan and think highly of his ability. But just so there isn't speculation, it is an option."
Boldin was named as a Pro Bowl starter – his third Pro Bowl selection in six seasons – last year after making 89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns, despite missing four regular-season games with injuries. He was also plagued with a hamstring injury in the playoffs, when he made 14 receptions for 190 yards while playing in three of the four postseason games.
Whisenhunt said he didn't think the trade exploration would negatively affect Boldin or the team should Boldin stay.