Scott Bordow: Nothing against Chris “Beanie” Wells, who thankfully runs harder than his nickname suggests, but he wasn’t the biggest news coming out of the Cardinals draft Saturday. Anquan Boldin was.
Nothing against Chris “Beanie” Wells, who thankfully runs harder than his nickname suggests, but he wasn’t the biggest news coming out of the Cardinals draft Saturday.
Anquan Boldin was.
Arizona didn’t trade Boldin. He’s still a Cardinal and in all likelihood he’ll be a Cardinal when training camp opens in July.
Now, whether Boldin shows up for camp is an entirely different question. But for now, the rumors can be put to rest.
Boldin isn’t going anywhere.
“I’ve never changed my thoughts about Anquan and what he means to this team,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We want Anquan on our football team. Coming out of this we’re excited Anquan is going to be with us. We want to get a deal in place that works for both parties.”
We’ll get back to Boldin in a moment, but first a few thoughts on Wells:
There was little doubt Arizona would take a running back with the 31st pick. It had to, given Edgerrin James’ impending release — a move that could happen early next week — and the reality that Tim Hightower isn’t an upper-crust NFL back.
There’s also little question that the Cardinals preferred Connecticut running back Donald Brown, who went to Indianapolis at No. 27. But Wells has the potential — that’s always a loaded word, mind you — to be the steal of the draft.
No back, including Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno, can match Wells’ combination of size (6-foot-1, 237 pounds) and speed.
Had Wells come out after his sophomore season at Ohio State, when he rushed for 1,609 yards, he would have been a top-10 selection.
But a toe injury sidelined him for three games last year, and suddenly there were questions not only about his toughness but whether the injury would continue to aggravate him throughout his career.
The Cardinals say they checked Wells out and that the toe isn’t a concern. If that’s the case, Wells will give Arizona the big-play threat it’s lacked in the running game for, well, forever.
“He’s shown the ability to break long runs,” Whisenhunt said. “Nothing is for certain, but to get a guy with his size and his speed is certainly very exciting.”
The selection of Wells ensures James’ departure. Maybe James never was worth the $30 million contract the Cardinals gave him — some of that blame has to fall on the offensive line — but he was vital in Arizona’s march to the Super Bowl last season. For that, he’ll always have a soft place in the hearts of Cardinals fans.
As for Boldin, there never was much of a chance of him being traded Saturday. Whisenhunt said he was surprised there wasn’t more interest in the wide receiver, but there just aren’t many clubs willing to pay Boldin $8 million to $10 million per season.
And despite what you might have heard, the Cardinals never were going to give Boldin away for a second-round pick.
So, for better or worse, Boldin and the Cardinals are stuck with one another.
Unfortunately, the same issues that fractured their relationship last season likely will hang around this summer. Boldin wants a new deal. The Cardinals’ priorities are to extend the contracts of outside linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Adrian Wilson.
That leaves three options:
A. An angry Boldin refuses to show up for training camp and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, causes a stink.
B. Boldin shows up, pops off — remember his diatribe the first day of camp last year? — then continues to catch passes, break tackles and pile up Pro Bowl numbers.
C. The Cardinals trade him before camp opens.
Don’t expect a deal. Two of the teams reportedly interested in Boldin — the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants — drafted wide receivers in the first round Saturday. The likely resolution is that the Cardinals hang onto Boldin and try to make the best of a potentially divisive situation.
For now, though, Arizona can take a breath and try on its Beanie.
Here’s guessing it’s a perfect fit.