Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/8/13

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03: Anquan Boldin of the Baltimore Ravens runs after a catch in front of Bryant McFadden of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on October 3, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The Patriots’ offseason began at least two weeks before they were hoping this year, but with that time allowed them some time to weigh options. One likely option for Bill Belichick to consider was that of now Super Bowl champion wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Boldin was a key cog in the Ravens’ win in Super Bowl XLVII, but his $6 million cap figure for next season is just the sort of contract general manager Ozzie Newsome could be looking to shed this offseason. So, with nearly no salary cap space available and quarterback Joe Flacco likely to seek somewhere in the $15 to $20 million range this offseason, Boldin may soon find himself back on the market. Then again, maybe he’ll just follow in Ray Lewis‘ footsteps and use this opportunity to ride off into the eternal NFL sunset. Boldin confirmed that exact notion during an appearance on NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk on Friday, explaining that he plans to retire if released. “Baltimore is the only place I want to play,” Boldin said. ”It’s the last place that I will play. For me, I’ll retire a Raven, I’m not putting on any other uniform.” The three-time Pro Bowler even reiterated the thought just to confirm “I won’t play in another uniform,” Boldin said.  “We have a saying, once a Raven, always a Raven, and I’ll always be a Raven.” Boldin’s comment all but confirms that the Patriots will have to look elsewhere for a physical, reliable receiver this offseason. Fortunately for the Patriots, they do have some money to spend and Wes Welker, who has been arguably the most reliable receiver in football over the past six seasons, is still a candidate for a return. With Brandon Lloyd as the only viable receiver under contract for next season, though, the Patriots will need to stock up on a few more options for Tom Brady this offseason. They’ll just need to look elsewhere to do so. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
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