Boldin deal opens exit door for 49ers free agents


UPDATE 5:27 p.m.: It took little time for Issac Sopoaga to find a new home. Adam Caplan, who covers the Philadelphia Eagles, broke the story that the defensive lineman has agreed to a deal with the Eagles.

The 49ers quickly and swiftly addressed a need on Monday, agreeing to acquire wide receiver Anquan Boldin from Baltimore for an “undisclosed 2013 draft pick,” widely reported to be a 6th round selection.

Among the 49ers’ weaknesses exposed in the Super Bowl was a lack of depth at wide receiver. Michael Crabtree caught five passes, tight end Vernon Davis caught six, and Delanie Walker and Randy Moss combined for just five catches.

The addition of Boldin gives Colin Kaepernick another weapon and takes pressure off Michael Crabtree. Boldin’s $6 million salary may be steep for a player entering his 11th season, but giving up just a 6th round pick was an incredibly low price.

Boldin caught 65 passes for 921 yards in 2012. After Crabtree and Davis, no other 49er had more than 60 catches or 500 receiving yards. Mario Manningham was the closest, catching 57 passes for 449 yards.

As expected, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke was pleased with the acquisition of the 32-year-old Boldin. In a statement on the 49ers.com, Baalke said:

“We are excited to add Anquan to our roster. He is a highly competitive and productive player with strong leadership qualities that will be a welcome addition to our team and community.”

If there is a downside to the Boldin deal, it’s that his salary will make it nearly impossible for the 49ers to retain their own free agents.

The first departure occurred swiftly after the free agency period began Tuesday afternoon when tight end Delanie Walker agreed to a four-year deal with Tennessee.

Walker was a versatile player for the 49ers that will be hard to replace, though Jim Harbaugh could groom Stanford tight end Zach Ertz into Walker’s replacement if he can land him in next month’s NFL draft.

The next casualty could be Dashon Goldson, who is scheduled to make his first free agent visit with Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois, two defensive lineman, could be on the way out as well.

The 49ers also made the Alex Smith trade official. As expected, in return they will receive a 2nd round pick in April’s draft as well as a conditional draft pick in next year’s draft.

If the 49ers don’t fill all their holes through free agency, they still have 14 draft picks (11 guaranteed, three expected compensation picks) to work with.

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